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Knife crime pilot scheme helps cut offending

by Jonathan Kearney

A targeted stop and search pilot in Merseyside is helping to cut knife crime offending across the region.

Merseyside Police, working with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has secured 113 Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) since April 2023.

The figures have been announced during Sceptre (13-19 May), a national week of action to tackle knife crime.

The court can make a SVRO when an adult, aged 18 or over, is convicted of an offence involving a bladed article or offensive weapon.

Merseyside Police is using these additional powers to tackle high-risk offenders, known weapons carriers and help drive down reoffending to keep communities safe.

In the last year, the pilot scheme has resulted in:

  • 113 Serious Violence Reduction Orders being secured.
  • 57 people who were issued a SVRO were given custodial sentences for knife crime offences totalling more than 56 years.
  • 25 people arrested for breaching a SVRO.

As a result of proactive policing and education, supported and delivered by partner organisations, Merseyside has seen significant reductions in both serious violence and knife crime, with 263 fewer victims of serious violence in the last year alone. Knife crime has also fallen by 18.6% for the year ending September 2023 compared with the previous 12 months (Office of National Statistics).

The SVROs form part of Merseyside’s dedicated approach to tackling serious violence and knife crime all year round. During Sceptre this week, officers are continuing their work to tackle knife crime and using it as an opportunity to educate the public on the dangers of carrying a weapon.

Uniformed officers are being deployed across Merseyside to deter offenders and provide reassurance to the local community, with a particular focus in hotspot areas where crime is most likely to occur. More than 3,000 hours of targeted uniformed foot patrols in hotspot areas have helped drive down serious violence in the last year.

Officers will also be proactively monitoring individuals with live SVROs and undertaking stop searches when they are in a public place.

Inspector Laura Leach, Merseyside’s Deputy Lead for Serious Violence and Knife Crime said: “We remain committed to targeting those who choose to carry weapons on our streets and bringing them to justice. SVROs allow us to proactively target high-risk offenders and known weapons carriers.

“A year in, SVROs are being used to keep the pressure on those who persist in unlawfully carrying knives in Merseyside and prevent further violence.

“While we are seeing knife crime and serious violence decrease, we are not complacent and know that one incident is one too many. This week’s Sceptre campaign is an opportunity to showcase the year-round work of officers and partners, to not only enforce but to prevent and engage with communities about the dangers of knife crime.”

More information about SVROs can be found here: Serious Violence Reduction Orders | Merseyside Police

Anyone with any information or concerns about knife crime can report it to Merseyside Police or Crimestoppers anonymously. Call 101, direct message @MerPolCC on X or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.