Where Knife Crime Protection Order (KCPO) areas are introduced, it will be essential to ensure the new orders effectively tackle knife crime. These orders should not contribute to the unnecessary criminalisation of young people.
- Knife crime has a devastating impact on victims, their families and communities. The recent rise in such crimes committed by young people is of enormous concern to local government, and we share the Government’s desire to address this issue.
- Where Knife Crime Protection Order (KCPO) areas are introduced, it will be essential to ensure the new orders effectively tackle knife crime. These orders should not contribute to the unnecessary criminalisation of young people.
- It will also be vitally important that any new costs to local government associated with KCPOs are fully funded and sustained. Without additional resources, the new responsibilities placed on youth offending teams (YOTs) to monitor compliance with KCPOs will reduce capacity for the vital work that these organisations do to prevent young people from becoming involved in criminal activity in the first place.
- We recommend that the guidance on KCPOs should clarify when a KCPO, rather than a gang injunction order or criminal behaviour order, would be the appropriate tool to use. We also urge the Government to commit to an evaluation of the use of KCPOs during the pilot process, ahead of a wider roll out. The pilot schemes should be geographically spread and not just focused in London.
- It is also important to recognise the broader context of people who may become subject to KCPOs. It is clear that those who experience poor quality and traumatic childhoods are more likely to have poor life outcomes. This demonstrates that investment in protecting and supporting children and strengthening families is important both in addressing immediate safeguarding risks and in the longer term, reducing serious violence. This is why investing in early intervention and prevention is so crucial.
- This is at a time when local authorities have been under significant financial pressure. It was positive to see the Spending Round provide councils with much of the certainty they need about how local services will be funded next year. Only with the right sustained funding and powers can councils continue to make a difference to their resident’s lives by supporting families and young people and helping to tackle serious violent crime in our local communities.