Sajid Javid’s knife ASBOs won’t work. Here’s a better solution

Ed Davey

The Home Secretary’s new measures to tackle knife crime will waste police time and money. A public health approach is needed.

As of today, the government’s Offensive Weapons Act has Royal Assent – and Sajid Javid’s controversial Knife Crime Prevention Orders have now become law.

The biggest of many problems with these Knife Crime Prevention Orders – or KCPOs for short – is that you can get one even if you’ve not been carrying a knife. Even if you’ve not committed any crime at all.

That’s why Liberal Democrat peers, led by former Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick, voted against these measures when they were inserted in the House of Lords. We would have defeated them if Labour had joined us, but only 17 of their 186 peers turned up to vote. When MPs had our one, brief chance to consider the proposals, I continued to challenge them – and to propose a far better alternative.

There’s no doubt that we need urgent action to tackle the knife crime epidemic that is claiming far too many young lives. We need more police on our streets, more youth workers to help steer children away from gangs and violence, and a proper public health approach spanning youth services, community groups, schools and the NHS.

But that all costs money – money this Tory Government isn’t prepared to spend. So instead, Javid has come up with KCPOs. It’s a cheaper policy that certainly sounds tough. But history tells us it won’t work. And evidence shows us there’s a better way.

KCPOs are essentially ASBOs for knives. They could be imposed on children as young as 12, even if they’ve never been caught carrying a knife or convicted of any crime. Yet breaching their conditions – being in the wrong place, hanging around with the wrong people, …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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