The Government has announced it will introduce new court-enforced orders in an effort to lock up serial knife crime offenders.
New Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) will be handed to those caught carrying a knife – including those not sent to prison – allowing police to stop and search them. If caught carrying a knife again, offenders will be sent to prison under existing laws.
The Government points to statistics showing an increase in repeat knife crime offenders. The proportion of offenders who have already committed one or more previous knife and offensive weapons possession offences has risen from 20% in the year ending March 2010 to 29% in year ending March 2020.
Crime and Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said:
“Knife crime has a devastating effect on young lives and our neighbourhoods. Our ambition is for these new powers to transform the way stop and search is used by targeting the small number of the most serious and persistent criminals.
“The law-abiding majority should not have to live in fear, which is why are taking action across all fronts to keep them safe.”
But Labour’s shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds blasted the Government for overseeing the rise in knife crime in the first place. Thomas-Symonds said:
“The truth is that under the Tories violent crime – and knife crime in particular – has risen right across the country, whilst Ministers have overseen a rise in reoffending.
“That is, sadly, the inevitable consequence of deep cuts to the police and preventive services.
“A range of actions are needed to tackle repeat offending, with a strategy that carries the confidence of all our communities, not simply a public consultation on piecemeal measures.”
The SVRO proposals have been put out for public consultation for the next eight weeks.