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Knife crime reduction trial fails to result in a single court action

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A police trial aimed at stopping people as young as 12 from carrying knives failed to result in a single court action during its first six weeks.

Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPOs) are being piloted by the Metropolitan Police by using the courts to impose restrictions on people they believe are “on the cusp” of violence.

But figures obtained by the PA news agency under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws show only two orders were applied for by the Met during the first six weeks of the trial – and both were turned down by magistrates.

The force said “learning was identified” from its two failed applications, adding that two orders have since been granted, although both were handed out alongside jail terms.

A Met spokesman said: “The Met is 10 weeks into a 14-month pilot and so far there has been one KCPO granted in London.

“As is often the case with new legislation, police and other agencies involved in KCPOs are navigating through new processes and building up knowledge following the initial launch.

“Learning was identified following two unsuccessful applications and allowed us to understand how the courts may interpret the civil orders and adapt to the thresholds required.”

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The 14-month trial was launched on 7 July – amid concern about youth violence in the capital.

It gives police the power to apply to magistrates’ courts for orders on any person they believe is carrying blades, regularly has knives, or has knife-related convictions.

Conditions imposed as part of KCPOs include curfews, restrictions on social media use, and bans on travel outside certain geographical boundaries.

The courts can also call for a range of activities to take place, such as educational courses, sports club referrals, relationship counselling, anger management, and drug rehabilitation, with a prison term of up to two years for any breaches.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse, who advocated the introduction of KCPOs, described the trial as “pretty good so far”.

A spokesman for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “While it is early days, the Mayor has been clear that KCPOs alone will not reduce violent crime, and must be part of a much bigger package of measures that include tackling the causes of crime.”