New court order to help Sussex Police tackle knife crime
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An 18-year-old Brighton man, convicted of possessing a knife, has received the first Serious Violence Reduction Order (SVRO) in Sussex.
Officers now have the right to search Raphael Arabi, of Queensway, in a public place to check he isn’t carrying an offensive weapon, under the order that runs for two years.
After pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article, he was given a fine and a community order, and ordered to undertake rehabilitation when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates Court on 20 September.
Sussex Police is one of four forces alongside Merseyside, Thames Valley and West Midlands, to be piloting the new SVROs over the next two years, targeted at anyone convicted of an offence that involved a bladed item or offensive weapon.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Yates, Sussex Police lead for knife crime and serious violence, said: “We welcome this additional measure and we are applying in court for 31 more serious violent reduction orders over the coming months.
“Raphael Arabi is the first to receive the order, which gives us the power to stop and search him to check if he is carrying a weapon. If he is found to have a knife or a bladed article, he can be fined or imprisoned for up to two years, or both.
“The pilot will enable us to see if this latest measure has an impact and helps to safeguard the communities of Sussex, by giving us a more proactive approach for dealing with repeat offenders. We are working hard to protect the public and prevent offenders from perpetuating a cycle of repeating and escalating their crimes.”
Each order is imposed on top of the sentence for the crime itself. It must last for a minimum of six months but not more than two years. If the defendant is imprisoned, the order takes effect from when the offender is released.
The pilot will be independently evaluated to understand what impact the orders have on re-offending and serious violent crime before a decision is made on whether to roll out the orders nationally.
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Here in Sussex, I welcome the opportunity for SVROs to drive down knife crime and catch criminals. This proactive approach adds to the ongoing range of activity already undertaken by Sussex Police, including early intervention and education for those who are most vulnerable to exploitation by criminal gangs.
“Removing weapons means saving lives and these additional stop and search powers are another way of helping to keep us all safer. With the first order being issued and more on the way, I will be monitoring the effectiveness of this pilot and receiving regular progress updates from our chief constable.”
Op Safety, the force’s response to knife crime and serious violence, operates 365 days a year across Sussex, with us working with our partners to engage, educate, enforce and rehabilitate those who carry knives.
To find out more about the broader response of Sussex Police to knife crime, visit our website.