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LGA response to the Government’s consultation on Serious Violence Reduction Orders, 6 November 2020

Investing in early intervention and prevention initiatives is vital, in order to help prevent serious violent crime, and knife crime. The Youth Endowment Fund is a welcome investment in youth diversionary schemes, but it cannot replace core local government funding in youth services.

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1. About the Local Government Association (LGA)

1.1 The Local Government Association (LGA) is the national voice of local government. We work with councils to support, promote and improve local government.

1.2 We are a politically-led, cross party organisation which works on behalf of councils to ensure local government has a strong, credible voice with national government. We aim to influence and set the political agenda on the issues that matter to councils so they are able to deliver local solutions to national problems.

2 Summary

2.1 Knife crime has a devastating impact on victims, their families and communities. The significant 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.

2.2 Councils are working hard with their partners to tackle all youth crime, including knife crime. The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy and the Offensive Weapons Act have raised important debates about the causes of, and responses to, these crimes.

2.3 Where Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVRO) are introduced, it will be essential to ensure the new orders effectively tackle knife crime and wider serious violent crime. These orders should not contribute to the unnecessary criminalisation of young people and should not therefore apply to under-18s.

2.4 We understand Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPOs) were due to be piloted by the Metropolitan Police in April 2020 but they have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before introducing a separate Serious Violence Reduction Order, it would be useful to know whether the KCPO pilots have progressed and if they have an impact on knife crime and wider serious violent crime.

2.5 We would welcome any further clarity on how the KCPO and the SVRO are intended to be used and how they differ, as it is understood that KCPOs can also be made upon conviction.

2.6 Investing in early intervention and prevention initiatives is vital, in order to help prevent serious violent crime, and knife crime. The Youth Endowment Fund is a welcome investment in youth diversionary schemes, but it cannot replace core local government funding in youth services.

2.7 The youth justice grant should remain at least at its current level in real terms. We also ask for the Government to devolve some of the funding for the National Citizen

Service (NCS) to councils to deliver or commission the services that local young

people want and need.

2.8 As grants to councils have been cut, and the need for child protection work has

increased, many children’s services departments have been forced to cut back the

universal and early help services that can help all children, young people and their

families to thrive.

2.9 It is vital that councils are properly resourced to enable investment in preventative

universal and early help services so that children, young people and their families

can get the practical, emotional, educational and mental health support they need,

as soon as they need it – and before problems escalate.

2.10 The Early Intervention Grant has fallen from £2.8 billion in 2010/11 to £1.1

billion in 2018/19 – reinstating the lost £1.7 billion would provide a significant boost

to early help services and the children and families who need them.

2.11 Evidence shows that young people are more likely to be involved in youth

offending if they have experienced adverse childhood experiences. Where young

people have experienced maltreatment in adolescence, they are far more likely to

be involved in the youth justice system.

2.12 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


2.13 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.

3 Serious Violence Reduction Orders

3.1 The Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPOs) are still due to be piloted by the

Metropolitan police. Before any new orders are introduced, KCPOs should be fully

tested and evaluated to ensure they have a positive impact on tackling serious

violent crime, and do not criminalise younger people.

3.2 If introduced, there should be a review of how these new SVROs are expected to

be applied and work alongside KCPOs and wider community safety legislation.

There should be clear guidance for all relevant agencies, including local

government, on how these new orders will affect current community safety


3.3 The SVROs should not apply to under 18 year olds. Children are often coerced into

criminal activity and do not feel able to refuse or escape. Children need to be

supported and recognised as victims. A multidisciplinary partnership approach is

needed to support children out of potentially violent, exploitative situations rather

than criminalising them.

3.4 The Government needs to make clear what data requirements and monitoring

there will be of SVROs, and there should be Parliamentary scrutiny of how these

powers are being used. There should be particular scrutiny of how these new

orders had been applied to people with an ethnic minority background.

4 Supporting children and young people

4.1 It is imperative we take a whole systems approach to supporting children and

younger people. Parents, carers, teachers and youth workers are all well placed to

help provide guidance and support for when a young person transitions to

adulthood. If we do not invest fully in children and youth services, we will not be

able to tackle serious violence.

4.2 Funding for YOTs via the Youth Offending Grant has been halved since 2010/11,

from £145 million to £72 million in 2017/18. This undermines their ability to continue

providing strong outreach, preventative and diversionary work to avoid children and

young people coming into the youth justice system in the first place.

4.3 In addition, local authority funding for youth services has been cut by 69 per cent

since 2010/11, from £1.4 billion to £429 million. More than 4,500 youth work jobs

have been cut and 750 youth centres closed. These services can be invaluable in

building trusted relationships with young people so that they can be supported

through difficult times and provided with the right support, when they need it.

4.4 The Home Affairs Select Committee report into serious youth violence published in

2019 has indicated that the rise in youth violence is likely have been associated

with a reduced youth service offer.

5 Disproportionate impact on adults from an ethnic minority background

5.1 The consultation states that SVROs will have an important role in protecting people

from ethnic minority backgrounds from serious violence, but recognises that the

application of the power to stop and search needs to be effectively monitored to

ensure it is not being disproportionately applied, in particular in respect of Black


5.2 Year-on-year Home Office statistics show that people from Black ethnic groups are

subject to a disproportionate number of stop and searches. Between 2009/10 to

2018/19 the data showed people from three Black ethnic groups had the highest

rates of stop and search out of all 16 individual ethnic groups.

5.3 In September 2020, the Joint Committee on Human Rights heard evidence that an

estimated “85 per cent of Black people in the UK were not confident that they would

be treated the same as a white person by the police.”

5.4 There should be a full impact assessment of how people from ethnic minority

backgrounds will be affected by the introduction of these new orders. There should

also be formal guidance of how these new orders will be used and full data

gathering on how these orders have been applied. There should be explicit

recognition that people from ethnic minority backgrounds should not be

disproportionately targeted by these orders.

5.5 We would welcome the Home Affairs Select Committee launching an inquiry into

the creation of SVROs and how they relate to the newly created KCPOs. There

should be Parliamentary scrutiny on whether these new orders will

disproportionately or detrimentally affect ethnic minority communities.



Rachel Phelps

Policy Adviser, LGA Safer and Stronger Communities team

Phone: 020 7664 3119

Email: [email protected]