The Met Police has begun piloting new legislation in an attempt to prevent knife crime in London.
The Knife Crime Prevention Order (KCPO) is a new civil order that may be imposed on any person aged 12 or over who is known to be regularly carrying a knife or sentenced upon conviction of a knife-related offence.
The Met claims KCPOs are intended to be preventative rather than punitive by helping the police to identify and divert vulnerable people at risk of becoming serious criminals and away from being further drawn into violence.
T/Commander Ade Adelekan from the Metropolitan Police Service said: “Knife Crime Prevention Orders will allow police more options and will be a valuable tactic in preventing and tackling violence in London.
“They will allow intervention at an early stage and divert vulnerable people at risk of becoming serious criminals by supporting them to make better lifestyle changes away from violence. Also, they will enable police to monitor the individual and enforce the law on them if they breach it. Both outcomes helping to keep our communities safe.
“Tackling violence remains a priority for the Met to which our officers will continue to exploiting all preventative and enforcement tactics and powers.”
Those under an order can be prevented from associating with certain people, restricted from specific geographical areas and can be set curfews.
They will also include positive requirements such as attendance at educational courses, life skills programmes, participation in group sports, drug rehabilitation and anger management classes.
The Met will pilot KCPOs for 14 months and following an evaluative assessment, may be introduced across all police forces in the UK.
Tom Gaymor, an ambassador for DIVERT, a custody programme designed to divert 18-25-year-olds away from offending and into employment, development and education, said: “KCPOs will hopefully prove to be an invaluable tool when it comes to early intervention and protecting young people from serious violence.
“Unlike previous orders KCPOs do not need a previous conviction to be imposed and can also be used before young people develop gang affiliations.
“The emphasis is on diversion and development and not punishment, and with that hope and opportunity is not burdened by a criminal record.
“KCPOs also allow the police to safeguard those at risk of offending, and those at risk of becoming victims of serious violence themselves.
“Hopefully KCPOs can help save lives and make communities safer. This is a child-focused approach which I hope will reduce violent knife-enabled crime and create a safer society for young people to grow up in.”
Chief Crown Prosecutor Claire Lindley, violent crime lead for the Crown Prosecution Service added: “Knife attacks can have a devastating impact on victims or their families.
“We will work with the Metropolitan Police to prevent people carrying knives on our streets to help reduce the number of people threatened, stabbed or killed.”