Serious Violent Reduction orders considered for knife crime offenders.
Consultation has begun on views around a new court order to target known knife and offensive weapon carriers.
Views are being sought about the new personalised stop and search powers called Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) that could help ensure repeat offenders are more likely to be caught and put in prison.
SVROs could apply to individuals previously convicted of carrying a knife or an offensive weapon, including those who have received non-custodial sentences such as community orders or suspended sentences.
The orders would be imposed by a court, which could also decide on the exact length of the order. Police could then stop and search those who are
subject to an SVRO to check if they are unlawfully carrying a knife or offensive weapon again.
If caught and convicted a second time, offenders could then expect to receive a custodial sentence under the existing ‘two strikes’ legislation brought in by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.
The new orders, which build on existing stop and search powers, will help the police to better target the small minority of persistent offenders who repeatedly flout the law.
The proportion of offenders who have already committed one or more previous knife and offensive weapons possession offences has risen from 20 per cent in the year ending March 2010 to 29 per cent in year ending March 2020.
Reoffending rates have been one the scourges of knife crime. SVROs give us a chance to look again at stop and search and what more can be done in the courts to reduce offending. We welcome the Government’s decision to open SVROs to consultation, this will enable front line organisations to lend their expertise and experience to these orders.
The Home Office launched a public consultation last week and it will run for eight weeks until November 8. Views will be sought on how SVROs could work, including monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure transparency and accountability.
The aim is for SVROs to help the police to take an intelligence-based, targeted approach to those who pose the most serious threat, keeping communities safe and strengthening police-community relations.