Offensive Weapons Bill: Committee asks about Knife Crime Prevention Orders
21 February 2019
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has written to Home Office Minister Baroness Williams to raise concerns about the proposed amendments, which may criminalise children who have no previous convictions: not for carrying a knife (which is already against the law) but for breaching requirements which could be imposed in ways which prevent them from living a normal life.
- Letter to the Home Office Minister, regarding the Offensive Weapons Bill, dated 20 February 2019 (pdf 813KB)
- Joint Committee on Human Rights
Knife Crime Prevention Order
The Committee understands the Government's desire to tackle knife crime, and to protect children from harm and from being drawn into violence.
However, children aged 12 and over without any conviction could be subject to a Knife Crime Prevention Order (KCPO) based on the civil standard of proof - balance of probabilities. Breach of an Order is a criminal offence, with a prison sentence of up to 2 years.
The requirements attached to such an Order are not expressly limited, and could interfere with a range of human rights including freedom of religion, expression and association, and peaceful enjoyment of property.
The Committee has asked the Government to explain why it has not followed the approach in gang injunctions (described in the letter).
The KCPO guidance may be particularly important in ensuring that the proposed new regime is used proportionately, and the Committee has requested early sight of this for scrutiny when the Bill returns to the Commons.