KCPO s- Knife Crime and COVID-19 – Solicitor Analysis

Speaker: Caroline Liggins
Chambers: Youth Practicioners' Association

 The Offensive Weapons Bill The introduction of Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPOs) for those as young as 12.
 The introduction of what is being termed knife ASBOs
 The Offensive Weapons Act was given Royal Assent on the 16th May.

Summary of KCPO
 Under the new proposals police would be able to make an application to a magistrates’ court for a KCPO.
 One could lawfully be imposed on anyone aged 12
 The court would only impose such an order if they think it is necessary in order to protect the public
 The making of such orders would be to add restrictions to that person to achieve the aims of the The government

 KCPO made on conviction
A KCPO may be made by any court dealing with the defendant (e.g. a Crown Court, Magistrates Court or youth court). Section 19 of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 sets out the conditions that must be met for the court to make a KCPO on conviction.
 CPS responsibilities
• For applications on conviction, the CPS will review the case in conjunction with the police and decide whether and how to proceed with the application in the light of the circumstances of the particular case. Where the defendant is under-18, the police must obtain and provide the views of the local Youth Offending Team to the CPS in order to assist with the review process.

 Other than on conviction
 Requirements for a KCPO application
 Without Notice
 Interim KCPO without notice

 Applying for a KCPO against a defendant aged under 18
Concerns raised
The prohibitions imposed by a knife crime prevention order on a defendant may, in particular, have the effect of prohibiting the defendant from
a) being in a particular place;
b) being with particular persons;
c) participating in particular activities;
d) using particular articles or having particular articles with them;
e) using the internet to facilitate or encourage crime involving bladed articles.
Consultation on guidance:
 The Home Office plan to run an open public consultation for a period of roughly one month – they will produce draft guidance
 Due to the lack of consultation during the passing of the Bill, a longer period would be needed to give a range of organisations and stakeholders an opportunity to meaningfully contribute
 They are close to a first draft of this guidance
 They are also open to discussions outside of the written consultation process
 They have agreed to have a consultation session to work through the issues and take advice
 They seem particularly keen to engage with organisations who may be responsible for the ‘positive requirements’ of an order
 Local partners involved in the application process and court proceedings are also crucial to the consultation process, foreseeing and working through potential problems before they arise (MA, YOTs, lawyers etc.)
Interestingly, they emphasised that there would be discretion at every stage of the process:
 Police will have discretion in terms of minor breaches of orders and whether to take action
 Courts will have discretion and a full range of sentencing options will be available to them on breach of an order – community penalties as well as custodial sentences maximum 2 years
 Details of this will be included for comment in the guidance

 We are all in a unique position being on the front line seeing the effects of youth justice at the coal face. Professions in the criminal justice system question the need for this new Knife ASBO initiative as there is no evidence it will help. Indeed, experience tells them that if implemented, how that happens could damage trust between communities and the police and the justice system overall.
 We also need to take a step back and look at what the solution is to the epidemic of knife crime, we as people who see it on a daily basis is a public health approach

You can contact Caroline Liggins on the e mail address given on the slides

© Copyright 2020 Law Friends Society. All Rights Reserved