My thanks to @julieanneda for bringing this article to my attention. Our Home Secretary Sajid Javid has finally got off his arse and done something about the rapidly escalating Knife Crime sweeping the country. He is apparently proposing Knife Crime Prevention Orders.
What are the main features of these Orders?
The measures will place curbs on suspects, such as limiting their use of social media to stop gang rivalries escalating online.
A breach of the order, which can be issued to anyone aged 12 or over who is believed by police to routinely carry a blade, will be a criminal offence that could result in up to two years in prison.
The knife crime prevention orders could also include restrictions relating to social media use. That should be particularly effective. Anybody prepared to carry a blade and stick it into another human being will definitely stay away from Twitter and Instagram if they’re told to.
The Home Office has also announced a £500,000 fund to help trading standards teams secure the prosecution of retailers who repeatedly sell knives to under-18s. I can’t help but think they’re targeting the wrong people here. Yes, it is wrong, they should definitely not be selling blades to youths, but they might eventually work out that they could just take one out of the kitchen drawer
Youths subject of such an order could be required to abide by curfews and geographical restrictions, and attend knife crime awareness courses. Knife Awareness Courses might work to a degree, education is never a bad thing, but curfews? In my humble opinion curfews only work in company with a programme of Curfew Visits designed to make sure that little Johnny is actually abiding by his curfew. Knock on his door and speak to him, don’t just take it for granted that he will abide by it. This won’t happen though for two reasons
- Some Human Rights lawyer somewhere will decide this isn’t a fair tactic (I don’t see why not).
- The government has culled 21,000 officers so the Police Services no longer has the resources for proactivity such as this. This is what a Conservative government under Theresa May looks like.
John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales said Javid had missed the opportunity to significantly reduce the problem.
“The government is simply tinkering around the edges of this highly complex and very serious issue. While I cannot fault Mr Javid’s intentions I do not hold out much hope that these measures will have the dramatic impact I am sure he is hoping they will.”
Sarah Jones MP, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime, said:
”Knife crime is an epidemic which the government has failed to grip. Ministers have listened to our calls to intervene with young people at an earlier stage – but this proposal is flawed.
Analysis commissioned by the Guardian also showed that searches of black people were less likely to detect crime than those conducted on white people, and most stops found no wrongdoing. I would love to see that piece of work.
A weak proposal in my opinion. Street criminals now have no fear of being arrested. They know that resources are stretched and their chances have improved.