Curfews for young people planned in bid to tackle knife crime

By Joe Lepper

| 21 August 2019

Curfews could be imposed on young people to steer them away from knife crime, under government proposals.

Knife crime prevention orders are aimed at deterring young people from becoming involved in knife crime. Picture: Robin Hammond

The Home Office's planned knife crime prevention orders (KCPOs) can be imposed on any person aged 12 or over if police believe they are carrying a knife and also on those who have a previous conviction for a knife crime.

The government has stressed that the orders, through May this year's Offensive Weapons Act, are aimed at preventing knife crime and are not a punishment.

Other measures courts could impose as well as curfews, under the proposed orders, are to stop people associating with certain people and restrict which parts of the country or local areas they can visit.

"We are cracking down on violent crime, which has a devastating impact on victims, their families and our communities," said Home Secretary Priti Patel.

"Our Offensive Weapons Act will help to stop acids and knives making their way onto our streets and being used to carry out horrifying attacks."

The orders, which have been published in draft guidance this week, have also been backed by senior police officers.

National Police Chiefs' Council series violent crime lead Jackie Sebire said: "Knife crime prevention orders will provide police with a further means to help deter young people from becoming involved in knife possession and knife crime.

"These orders will help to make young people stop and think about the choices and consequences of carrying a knife."

Ade Adelekan, the Metropolitan Police's violent crime task force lead, added: "The Met supports the proposed knife crime prevention orders.

"We feel they will help to discourage more young people from carrying knives in a positive rather than punitive format, giving them support and pathways away from potential crime or negative influences."

While the charity St Giles Trust agrees with the orders it wants to ensure that any preventative measures have an educational aspect showing the dangers of knife crime. The charity also warns that the legislation will not deter many young people.

Junior Smart, head of the charity's SOS intensive support project for young people at risk of youth violence, said: "We are dealing with circumstances where every day young people are losing their lives and we believe support and enforcement measures have their place in addressing this issue."

He added: "I have yet to speak to a young person who will say that an offensive weapons bill is enough reason for them not to carry. They live in the here and now and rarely think about the finality of death and the action of knifing someone."

The proposed KCPOs are now subject to a consultation that closes on 25 September.

blog comments powered by Disqus