More than 70% of mayors in the Netherlands have asked for a ban against the sale of knives to minors. The Dutch cabinet is in agreement and is now pushing for a new law to be implemented.
This follows a significant increase in the number of stabbing incidents involving minors in the past few years. According to the NOS, the number of stabbings involving underage suspects and victims more than doubled between 2017 and 2019.
In 2017, there were 160 young people suspected of involvement in stabbing incidents. In 2019, this number had risen to 380. A similar increase was seen in the number of underage stabbing victims, which doubled from 100 to 200.
The NOS also reports that police confiscated significantly more knives last year. In 2017, 454 minors were found with knives on their person. This rose to 1,286 in 2019.
Law is unclear
Currently, it is illegal for minors to carry knives. However, police say that the law is not clear, making it difficult for officers to intervene quickly in dangerous situations.
At the moment it is still legal for shops to sell knives, such as kitchen knives, to people under the age of 18. However, some shops such as Xenos and IKEA have already stopped doing this.
The new law is still being worked out by ministers, as there are some cases where minors are required to have knives on their person, for example, at work.
Minister for Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, has called for a stricter punishment against those who are caught in possession of a knife. He proposes that any minor caught with a knife will be punished severely and may even face imprisonment.
Responsibility should not fall solely on the minor however. The Ministry of Justice and Security is considering holding parents accountable as well. A fine against those whose children are involved in a stabbing incident is being considered by ministers.
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