Police pilot new powers in bid to stop stabbings

a model holds a knife

The Met is piloting new powers aimed at tackling knife-related violence. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Met is piloting powers which could see children as young as 12 subject to curfews in a bid to curb knife violence.

A new civil order could be imposed on any person aged 12 or over known to be regularly carrying a blade or who has been sentenced following conviction for a knife-related offence.

The measure comes amid a wave of teenage homicides across the capital, with at least 17 youngsters killed so far this year.

Fares Maatou

Fares Maatou was fatally stabbed in Canning Town on Friday (April 23). - Credit: MPS

This includes 14-year-old Fares Maatou who was fatally stabbed in Canning Town; Daniel Laskos, 16, killed in Harold Wood and Junior Jah, 18, who lost his life in Custom House.

The total teen killings so far this year compares to 14 in 2020 and 26 in 2019.

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Daniel Laskos was fatally stabbed - Credit: Met Police

According to the Met, the knife crime prevention order (KCPO) is aimed at preventing rather than punishing those who carry knives, including "vulnerable" young people at risk of becoming serious criminals.

The order can stop someone from mixing with certain people, ban them from certain neighbourhoods and see curfews imposed.

Positive requirements include participating in courses, life skills programmes, group sports, drug rehab and anger management classes.

The Met plans to pilot KCPOs for 14 months with the aim to eventually roll them out to forces across the UK.

Temporary Met Cmdr Ade Adelekan said the orders give police more options and will be a "valuable tactic" in preventing and tackling violence.

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"They will allow intervention at an early stage and divert vulnerable people at risk of becoming serious criminals by supporting them to make better lifestyle changes away from violence," he said.

Tom Gaymor is an ambassador for DIVERT, which is a custody programme designed to turn 18- to 25-year-olds away from offending.

He said the orders will "hopefully" prove to be an "invaluable" tool when it comes to early intervention and protecting young people from "serious violence".

Mr Gaymor added: "Unlike previous orders, KCPOs do not need a previous conviction to be imposed and can also be used before young people develop gang affiliations.

Junior Jah

Abubakkar Jah, who was also known as Junior, died in Custom House on April 26. - Credit: MPS

"Hopefully, KCPOs can help save lives and make communities safer. This is a child-focused approach which I hope will reduce violent knife-enabled crime and create a safer society for young people to grow up in."