welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Home Office consultation on the
Knife Crime Prevention Order (KCPO) guidance.
worked closely with the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) and a cross-sector alliance during
the parliamentary stages of the Offensive Weapons Bill to assist
parliamentarians on scrutiny of the bill’s provisions. Our work helped to
secure the consultation on the guidance on KCPOs as well as the piloting of
KCPOs, with a report on the pilot to be laid before Parliament prior to the
further roll out of the orders.
consulted widely with our members to ensure that the breadth and depth of their
expertise informs our submission to the consultation. Our full response can be
comments on the draft guidance are as follows:
- We strongly recommend that that Home Office publishes separate
and distinct KCPO guidance for children.
- Safeguarding of children and young people must be of paramount
importance. There must be more clearly stated guidance around how local
multi-agency safeguarding partnerships should inform the KCPO process, in order
to protect children from harm.
- As the organisations with the necessary expertise, the assessment
and views of the local Youth Offending Service and children’s services must be
considered at every stage of the process and clearly represented to the court.
- Guidance should make clear that attempts to engage a young
person in preventative and diversionary activities on a voluntary basis must be
fully explored prior to an application for a KCPO being considered-
opportunities for diversion should be continuously explored.
- Further clarity is needed on the evidence base required for the
imposition of an order, given it can be imposed on a balance of probabilities.
- More clarification is needed for ‘relevant organisations and community
groups’ – particularly given their concerns about the introduction
of KCPOs and the roles that they might be expected to play in their
Responding to the draft guidance, Director of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, Pippa Goodfellow, said:
remain about the destructive impact that KCPOs will have on vulnerable young
people. Lessons from ASBOs have clearly not been learned; the same mistakes are
being made that will lead to young people being criminalised at a
“Where are the voices
of those who are most likely to be directly impacted by the orders? Young people who are affected by violence
need to have a say and be listened to when developing ‘solutions’ to issues
that affect them.
“It is hard to see how these orders can be badged as preventative, when the guidance doesn’t make clear that attempts to engage a young person in preventative and diversionary activities on a voluntary basis must be fully explored prior to an application for a KCPO being considered.“
Mark Day, Head of Policy
and Communications at the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“Far from being the
preventative interventions which the government promised, these punitive
“knife-crime ASBOs” threaten to be a back door to custody for thousands of
children and young people. How can sending a child as young as 12 to prison for
breaching a civil order imposed on the balance of probabilities be considered
an effective, fair or proportionate response to the complex problem of knife
There are also major concerns
from the organisations that might be expected to provide and oversee ‘positive
Andy Peaden, Chair of
the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers, said:
“The legislation and guidance
appear to regard children as mini-adults, failing to acknowledge their very
different developmental stage of life. As a result, it fails to regard
potential child subjects as ‘children first and offenders second’.
“We feel that the
government needs to invest much more around prevention and universal
early-years interventions. This would more closely constitute a genuine public
health approach, ensuring children of all ages are provided with the support
they need to stay away from serious violence, as well as helping to eliminate
the climate in which violence breeds.
Lisa Capper, Director
of Education and Skills at Nacro, said:
“Nacro would like to
see less reliance on the KCPO mechanism as a panacea for knife crime and more
resourcing of preventative proactive programmes for young people at risk,
commissioned locally and led by expert grass-roots organisations.
“Nacro provides further education for over 4,300 young people and adults who are at risk in some shape or form. Young people have told us that access to education in a safe place and learning to stay safe from others is a large part of the solution – more supervisory orders are not.”
For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Pippa Goodfellow on:email@example.com
Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) is an alliance of over 60
non-profit organisations working together for a better youth justice system.
More information about the SCYJ is available here.
- The orders
have not been subject to any kind of meaningful public consultation, up to this
point. Key stakeholders, including the Youth Justice Board, the Children’s
Commissioner, the prison service, magistrates, local government and children’s
services were not given any kind of input on the development of KCPOs prior to
their introduction to the Offensive Weapons Bill. KCPOs were also not included
as part of the government’s serious violence strategy.
- In August
2019, the Home Office opened a consultation on guidance in relation to the
operation of, and application for, new Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPOs)
which have been introduced through the Offensive Weapons Act 2019. Details of the
consultation on the draft guidance is available here.
- The full SCYJ response to the consultation is available here.
- An independent evaluation of ASBOs, commissioned by the Youth
Justice Board, suggests several ways in which strategies to address problematic
behaviour might be refined or further developed. A summary of the evaluation is