On Saturday, I joined local people from across Croydon on Wellesley Road to express condolences for the tragic loss of Elianne Andam. Elianne was a student studying for her GCSEs at the Old Palace of John Whitgift School, where she was brutally attacked and killed on her way to school. It is clear how deeply moved our community is by this cruel tragedy. Our town has been united by grief of a young girl’s life cut short.
I spent time speaking with members of the community, as well as Policing leaders in Croydon. We must use every means available to take all knives off the streets of Croydon, to protect our young people and communities.
I am pleased that a suspect has been identified and charged, and that the individual has been remanded into youth detention before appearing in court. We need to be tougher on sentencing, making it clear that knife crime is abhorrent regardless of age. Myself and colleagues at the Home Office have legislated the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSC Act) which reduces the opportunities for those over 18 who committed murder as a child to have their minimum term reviewed. This legislation also introduces a sliding scale for murder, so that there are different starting points that take into consideration the age of the child and the seriousness of the act.
The PCSC Act also ensures that the courts will pass at least the minimum sentence for certain offences, including repeat knife possession and third strike burglary, unless there are exceptional circumstances.