Sussex Police to Trial New Order in Fight Against Knife Crime and Violence

Sussex Police has been selected as one of four forces to participate in a two-year trial of Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) aimed at combating knife crime and serious violence. Alongside Merseyside, Thames Valley, and West Midlands, the force will trial the implementation of SVROs starting from Wednesday, April 19.

SVROs are court orders designed to alter the behavior of individuals known to carry knives or bladed articles, with the ultimate goal of saving lives and reducing serious violence. To be eligible for a SVRO, the person must be at least 18 years old and have a conviction for carrying a knife.

These orders will empower the police to conduct searches for weapons more easily when dealing with high-risk, repeat offenders. Key elements of the SVRO include the authority for police officers to stop and search individuals subject to the order for knives or offensive weapons. The orders will apply to offenders aged 18 and above, with durations ranging from six months to two years. In the case of incarcerated offenders, the SVRO can take effect upon release from prison. Breaching the SVRO will be a criminal offense punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.

The SVROs will supplement Sussex Police’s ongoing efforts to address knife crime and serious violence, including operations like Op Safety, local policing initiatives, and collaborations with the Sussex Violence Reduction Partnership.

Chief Inspector Simon Yates, the force lead for Op Safety, expressed pride in Sussex Police being chosen as one of the pioneering forces for this new scheme, highlighting the existing successful work in the region to combat knife crime and serious violence. He assured the public that the county remains a safe place to live and emphasized that officers serving the orders have received training from the College of Policing.

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne welcomed the SVRO pilot in Sussex, viewing it as an additional tool for the police to identify, challenge, and potentially alter the behaviors of known knife and weapon carriers. She emphasized the importance of early intervention, effective partnerships, and support for individuals exploited by criminal gangs. Commissioner Bourne also expressed her commitment to monitoring the effectiveness of the pilot and receiving regular progress updates from the Chief Constable.

The evaluation of the pilot will consider various measures, including the usage of SVROs, reoffending rates, and the outcomes for offenders subject to SVROs. The trial represents a proactive step towards tackling knife crime and serious violence in the region, promoting the safety and well-being of the community.

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