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New Criminal Offences Come Into Force in England and Wales

Various new criminal offences have come into force in England and Wales today, together with potentially tougher prison sentences for serious violent and sexual crimes under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

A new offence of aggravated possession of a knife. This is aimed at those who possess knives in a public place or school to threaten or create a risk of serious physical harm.

Generally, the court must impose a custodial sentence of at least 6 months for an adult and 4 months Detention and Training Order for 16 and 17 year olds.

Scrap metal cash payments.  Cash payments for metal at scrap yards in England and Wales are no longer legal from today in an attempt to clampdown on cable theft.

'Two strikes' rule. The introduction of a new mandatory life sentence for people convicted of a second very serious sexual or violent offence.

EDS(Extended Determinate Sentence).  Certain 'dangerous' prisoners, who do not fall under the 'two strikes' rule above, will now have to serve at least two thirds of their sentence, instead of automatic release halfway through as is currently the case.

They replace the controversial IPP (Indefinite Public Protection) sentences that have clogged up the prisons with prisoners who are unable to access offending behaviour courses to rehabilitate themselves and persuade the Parole Board they are safe to be released.