Thames Valley Police to trial new stop and search powers to reduce knife and violent crime
Serious Violence Reduction Orders will "enable more robust interventions"
THAMES Valley Police (TVP) is to trial new laws giving officers greater stop and search powers to tackle knife and violent crime.
The force is to trial Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs), court orders designed to ensure convicted offenders receive additional interventions and support to help prevent their reoffending.
SVROs are part of the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which the Government introduced to Parliament last week.
TVP said that the enhanced stop and search powers would mean that people continuing to carry a knife or an offensive weapon were more likely to be caught and put in prison.
It also said that the powers would help protect vulnerable offenders from being drawn into further exploitation by criminal gangs, by acting as a deterrent to any further weapons carrying.
And targeted use of stop and search, as part of a wider approach to intervene and support offenders, would help to safeguard those communities most at risk.
Thames Valley Police deputy chief constable Jason Hogg said: “Tackling serious violence and particularly knife crime is a priority for the force.
“We welcome the opportunity to trial these new powers as they are developed and to contribute to national methods of policing and criminal justice outcomes.
“The new powers will enable more robust interventions with what remains a relatively small number of offenders, creating a focused deterrent to prevent reoffending and will help us support those most vulnerable.
“Through this, we will keep the pressure on those who are involved in the most serious violent crime and ultimately keep our communities safe, right across the Thames Valley.
“Our involvement in this pilot contributes to our range of activity already under way, both through our local policing operations and that of the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, all focused on tackling serious violence and its root-causes.”
Thames Valley, deputy police and crime commissioner Matthew Barber said: “We must and will bear down on those who choose to carry knives on our streets.
“Keeping the public safe must be our top priority and the change to trial these new Serious Violence Reduction Orders will give our Violence Reduction Unit the opportunity to get one step ahead of those who threaten violence on our streets.”
TVP will be one of four forces to trial the introduction of new post-conviction powers along with West Midlands, Merseyside and Sussex.
The pilot will test how well the orders deter violent offenders from carrying weapons, before a decision is made on national rollout.
The force is awaiting further guidance from the Home Office on the pilot, which will inform when and how these new powers can be put into operation.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse (Con, North West Hampshire) said: “We are absolutely committed to cutting crime, getting knives off our streets and putting violent criminals behind bars.
“The public want criminals who continue to carry knives and other deadly weapons, even after they have been caught, to be stopped in their tracks.
“These orders give police the power to do just that and protect communities from harm.”