On 12 May 2021, the UK government reintroduced the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 for the 2021/22 parliamentary session. Originally announced on 09 March 2021, the Bill is the centrepiece of the ruling Conservative Party’s law and order manifesto pledge.
The Bill contains a provision granting courts the power to make Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) ‘in respect of offenders convicted of offences involving knives or offensive weapons’ and the police stop and search powers ‘to target those subject to the orders’.
However, far from acting as a deterrent to future knife-carrying offenders, StopWatch argue that the expansion of stop and search powers ignores the weight of evidence showing that they have a minimal effect on violent crime, while catching many vulnerable young people in the criminal justice system’s dragnet. There are also elements of the provision that raise questions over its legality.
Ultimately, we would recommend the Bill’s provisions relating to SVROs should be withdrawn in their entirety as we believe that they are neither proportionate nor likely to be effective in combating violent crime.
For a full explanation of our position, please download and read our briefing.