Police to get tough new powers to search convicted knife offenders

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Police to get tough new powers to search convicted knife offenders

Police could be given new powers to stop and search people with knife convictions without the need for further suspicion, under plans to tackle repeat offending.

The Home Office wants to use serious violence reduction orders (SVROs) to increase the chances of repeat offenders being caught and jailed.

Courts would be given powers to grant the orders on individuals convicted of carrying an offensive weapon, even if they have not received custodial or immediate prison sentences.

Under current stop-and-search laws officers typically must have “reasonable grounds” to carry out the search, such as suspecting someone is carrying drugs or a weapon.

But the SVRO would become the sole basis for the search for the duration of the court order if the proposals get the go-ahead.

Offenders would then likely receive a jail term under existing “two strikes” legislation.

An eight-week public consultation has been launched to determine monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure transparency.

Crime and policing minister Kit Malthouse said: “Our ambition is for these new powers to transform the way stop and search is used by targeting the small number of the most serious and persistent criminals.”

John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation representing rank-and-file officers, said: “The vast majority of the public want to see police officers stopping and searching those who are the biggest risk, this will allow us to do this in a more targeted way.”

A spokeswoman from the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “This is an important time in the dialogue between police and community and we offer our support to the Government to ensure that any new powers are proportionate, clearly communicated in order to build trust and only used with appropriate safeguards in place.”

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