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Knife Crime Prevention Orders

The Home Office says that the Government will seek to amend the Offensive Weapons Bill to introduce Knife Crime Prevention Orders. Such an order would be imposed on anyone aged 12 or over, who police believe is carrying a knife, are habitual knife carriers or people previously convicted of a knife related offence.

This fills a gap, the Home Office says, which is not covered by preventative orders such as gang injunctions and criminal behaviour orders.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I have been clear that I will do everything in my power to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatising communities and claiming too many young lives. The police already have a range of measures they are using to keep our streets safe, but there is more we can do to help them in this battle. I have listened to their calls and will be introducing these new orders to stop gang members carrying knives in the first place. It is vital we continue to focus on improving the law enforcement response while at the same time steering young people away from criminal activity in the first place.”

The new civil orders will also restrict behaviour by placing curfews and geographical restrictions on individuals as well as limiting their social media use – to combat the escalation of rival disputes.

A breach of the order will be a criminal offence and the holder can be sent to prison for two years if convicted.

As for retailers found to be selling knives to children, a new £500,000 prosecution fund will help Trading Standards teams to secure the prosecutions of those who repeatedly sell knives to under 18s. The Home Office is set to launch the next phase of its advertising campaign #Knifefree in the spring.

Comment

For Labour, Diane Abbott, Shadow Home Secretary, said: “The Tories have rushed out this measure late in the day because they are completely failing to tackle knife crime and serious violent crime of all types. Labour is committed to a public health approach to violent crime because it works and in October last year, the Home Secretary said the government shared this view. But these orders have nothing to do with that approach and there is no serious evidence to support them.

“The Tories’ approach of more laws without the police to enforce them is pointless politicking. This Government has cut 21,000 officers and undermined the fight against all crime. What we need is police officers to tackle crime of all types, and Labour is committed to recruiting the police that we need.”


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