March 16, 2021. News

Thames Valley Police to pilot new Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) to tackle knife crime and violent offending

The Home Secretary has confirmed that Thames Valley Police will be one of four forces to trial the introduction of new post-conviction powers to further tackle knife crime and violence.

Thames Valley Police, alongside West Midlands, Merseyside and Sussex, will trial the introduction of new Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs).

The court orders are designed to ensure convicted offenders receive additional interventions and support to help prevent their reoffending. They will give police enhanced stop and search powers so that those who continue to carry a knife or an offensive weapon are more likely to be caught and put in prison.

They will also help protect vulnerable offenders from being drawn into further exploitation by criminal gangs, by acting as a deterrent to any further weapons carrying.

Targeted use of stop and search, as part of a wider approach to intervene and support offenders, will help to safeguard those communities most at risk.

The pilot will test how well the orders deter violent offenders from carrying weapons, before a decision is made on national roll out.

The force awaits further guidance from the Home Office on the pilot which will inform when and how these new powers can be put into operation.

SVROs are part of the Policing, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill which the Government introduced to Parliament last week.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse 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.”

Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, 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 topic 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.”

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg of Thames Valley Police, 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 underway, 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.”