A Serious Violence Reduction Order pilot, which Thames Valley Police are a part of, launches today (19/4).
Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) are intended to deter those offenders from carrying weapons, as there is a greater likelihood of being caught and brought to justice.
Thames Valley Police is one of four forces to trial the introduction of the post-conviction powers, alongside Merseyside, West Midlands and Sussex.
The court will be able to make an SVRO when an adult (aged 18 or over) is convicted of an offence involving a bladed article or offensive weapon.
The court will decide in individual cases whether it is necessary to make an order to protect the public or particular members of the public (including the offender) from the risk of harm involving knives or offensive weapons, or to prevent the offender from committing a further offence involving a knife or offensive weapon.
Police officers will have the power to stop and search a person subject to an order to look for knives or offensive weapons.
SVROs will have a minimum duration of six months and maximum duration of two years, with the court deciding on the exact length.
A breach of an SVRO, through failure to do anything the offender is required to do by the order, will be criminal offences punishable by a sentence of up to two years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.
The pilot will run for two years before a decision is made on a national roll out.
Whilst SVROs may only be applied for in pilot force areas, officers across England and Wales will have the power to stop and search those with an SVRO.
This will allow the police the flexibility to tackle travelling criminality and ensure that offenders are not able to evade enforcement simply by leaving the pilot force area.
Deputy Head of Criminal Justice, Karin Williams-Cuss said: “We welcome the opportunity to be a part of this pilot which will help to keep our communities safe, by providing an extra level of resilience, giving our officers additional powers to help deter previous offenders from carrying knives.
“We have sadly seen some tragic knife-related incidents within the Thames Valley and we hope that SVROs will help to reduce the number of these.
“Tackling knife crime is a force priority, and SVROs are another initiative that will help to reduce knife crime across the Thames Valley, alongside Operation Deter and the early intervention work undertaken by the Violence Reduction Unit.”
Matthew Barber, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “The introduction of Serious Violence Reduction Orders as part of the two-year trial in Thames Valley will be a welcome addition to the forces response to serious violence and knife crime in our communities.
“In conjunction with the ongoing positive work in our communities, SVROs provide officers with additional powers to stop and search high-risk persistent offenders and bring them to justice.
“I will be kept updated on the outcome of SVROs in Thames Valley, and look forward to seeing the positive results this trial will have in our communities.”