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30 Nov 2021

Knife crimes in Laois not on the rise say Gardaí

 Laois knife crimes not on the rise say Gardaí

File photo.

Following a serious stabbing on Portlaoise Main Street last weekend, Laois Gardaí have clarified the law around knife crime. 

A tradesman will not have a reasonable excuse to carry his knife if it is on a night out, while knives of any length are considered weapons, Garda Superintendent John Lawless has said.

He spoke at the Joint Policing Committee public meeting on November 15, answering questions by Deputy Brian Stanley who asked if knife crime is an issue in Laois. 

“The trends are not taking off but it’s something we are working on and watching. Every incidence we take seriously. I would say the pandemic probably curtailed it so we won’t know until the country opens up a bit more. Crimes like this are linked to drink and socialising, feuds and things like that. 

“As regards the law, section 9 of the offensive weapons act gives us powers of search and powers of arrest. You mentioned about a builder carrying a knife, that focuses on having a reasonable excuse. So if it’s a person out at night carrying a knife, that’s not a reasonable excuse,” Supt Lawless said.

He also said that the length or type of knife does not matter, as the law covers “a blade or sharply pointed item”.

Deputy Brian Stanley had asked if Gardaí are concerned at knife crimes in Laois.

“I don’t want you to comment on the case at the weekend because of the Garda investigation but in terms of knife crime in the county, has the trend been any way concerning?” Dep Stanley had asked.  

He had also asked what is the law on carrying a knife in a public place

“Carrying a blade that a tradesman would carry, maybe less than an inch long, but could do serious harm. Knives unfortunately are being used a lot now in society. I hope we are not having an increase in Laois,” Dep Stanley said.

Samurai swords being sharpened at the door of a house meanwhile was the topic of another knife query.

 The Chairperson of the JPC Cllr Ashling Moran asked Supt Lawless if this was a crime, if it was being used to intimidate.

“As a form of intimidation it’s wrong. They are not in a public place if they are outside their own house, but if it’s a form of intimidation one would have to look at the other circumstances and try and form evidence around that,” the Garda Supt told her. 

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