Social media bans for knife suspects aimed at reducing gang rivalry risk
PUBLISHED: 08:23 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:39 01 February 2019
New banning orders to tackle knife violence could see restricted access to social media for gang members as a way of stopping group rivalries escalating.
As part of action to enhance police powers, the government plans to amend the Offensive Weapons Bill to introduce Knife Crime Prevention Orders.
The orders can be imposed on anyone over 12 and previously convicted of a knife related offence.
Home Secretary, Sajid Javid said the measures filled a gap not covered by existing preventative orders such as gang injunctions and criminal behaviour orders.
He added: “I have been clear that I will do everything in my power to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatising communities and claiming too many young lives.
“The police already have a range of measures they are using to keep our streets safe, but there is more we can do to help them in this battle. I have listened to their calls and will be introducing these new orders to stop gang members carrying knives in the first place.
“It is vital we continue to focus on improving the law enforcement response while at the same time steering young people away from criminal activity in the first place.”
In Suffolk, cautions and convictions for knife crime between the year ending June 2017 and 2018 reached their highest levels since 2010 - from 183 to 206.
In Essex, for the same period, the number of cautions and convictions rose from 493 to 561, while Norfolk saw an increase of eight cautions and convictions to 279.
The new civil orders will also restrict behaviour by placing curfews and geographical restrictions on individuals, as well as limiting their social media use – in an effort to prevent rapid escalation of rival disputes.
Breach of the order will be a criminal offence and the holder can be sent to prison for two years if convicted.
The Home Secretary will be taking further action against retailers found selling knives to children.
A new £500,000 prosecution fund will help Trading Standards teams secure the prosecution of retailers who repeatedly sell knives to under 18s.