The SCYJ welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Home Office consultation on the Knife Crime Prevention Order (KCPO) guidance.
We worked closely with the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) 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.
We have consulted widely with our members to ensure that the breadth and depth of their expertise informs our submission to the consultation.
Our key comments on the draft guidance are as follows: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 implementation.
Our full response can be found here