Knife Crime Prevention Orders
Sadly, during the past few years, we have grown accustomed to seeing reports of numerous knife attacks in our newspapers and on television. As a result, in July 2021, London became the first city in England and Wales to test Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPO). The trial programme will run for 14 months in London before being implemented by other forces in England and Wales.
The purpose of KCPOs is to steer people away from knife crime who may be carrying blades or who are in severe danger of engaging in serious violence. In order to discourage reoffending, they will also be applied to people who have already been found guilty of knife crime offences. In essence, KCPOs are intended to be a prophylactic tool.
Any person who is 12 years of age or older may be issued a KCPO, which may be issued on conviction or "other than on conviction" (also known as complaint).
When it comes to a KCPO, the prosecutor must apply for one, and the court must be convinced that it is necessary to issue the order to protect the public from the risk. The court must also be satisfied that the defendant has been found guilty of an offence that is a relevant offence (one that involved violence, the threat of violence, or the use or possession of a bladed object).
In order to obtain a KCPO following a complaint, the applicant must meet the requirements of Section 15 of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 and the court must be convinced on the basis of a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant had a bladed article with them on at least two occasions during the relevant period (two years prior to the date that the order is made) without a valid defence or legal justification. A KCPO cannot be granted to a person under the age of 18 without first consulting the Youth Offending Team.
Numerous beneficial conditions, including as educational coursework, drug rehabilitation programmes, anger management workshops, and participation in sports, may be tied to a KCPO. Restrictive conditions that can be tacked on to a KCPO include an exclusion zone, refusal to interact with people, and using the internet to incite crime.
It will be interesting to monitor how KCPOs affect knife crime and how well the goal is achieved. Contact our criminal attorneys at TV Edwards Solicitors if you'd want comprehensive experienced assistance on KCPOs.