The Home Secretary is radically stepping up the government’s response to knife crime and will be introducing new orders to prevent criminals carrying blades.
As part of ongoing action to enhance police powers, the government will seek to amend the Offensive Weapons Bill to introduce Knife Crime Prevention Orders.
This new deterrent can be imposed on any person aged 12 or over to prevent vulnerable young people from becoming involved in knife possession and knife crime – even if they have not been caught with a blade.
It can be imposed on anyone who police believe is carrying a knife, are habitual knife carriers or people previously convicted of a knife related offence.
It is already a crime to carry a blade in public without good reason – and there is a separate offence of taking a knife into a school.
If a court is convinced the police’s intelligence is probably right, it can impose sanctions including:
- Curfews to keep the suspect off the streets and out of specific areas where gangs clash
- Requirements to attend special knife awareness courses to change their thinking
- Barring the suspect from using social media to encourage feuds
- Banning them for up to two years from meeting other members of their gang
Breaching an order would be a criminal offence punishable with up to two years in prison.
It comes as it emerged a fifth of offences for possession or threatening with a knife in the year to June involved 10 to 17-year-olds.
Some criticism for the powers have already been raised, as it may criminalise young people who carry knives out of fear, not with the intent to use it.
Help & Support
Whether you carry a knife, are thinking about carrying, or are worried about someone you know getting involved with knives – there is help and support available. It can be a tough thing to do, but support is there to help anyone join the millions of young people who live knife free.
Victim Support if you need support to move forward after being affected by crime; regardless of how long ago the crime took place, or if it has been reported or not.
Childline offer counselors for young people 24 hours a day to support any issue they are going through.
Fearless is a service which lets you pass on information about crime 100% anonymously.
If you are in danger, or need immediate help, always phone the emergency services on 999.