The Prison Reform Trust and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, along with a coalition of organisations working with children and young people in the criminal justice system, have written a letter published in today’s Times opposing the government’s proposed knife crime prevention orders. A copy of the letter and a list of signatures is below.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence has also criticised the proposals, in an article in the Times which also highlights today’s letter.

The bill is being debated in the House of Lords today. The Prison Reform Trust and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice have published a briefing for Peers urging them to oppose the new orders and highlighting other key amendments.


Letter published in the Times (6 February 2019)

Sir, As organisations working with children and young people in the criminal justice system, we urge Parliamentarians to oppose the government’s flawed and disproportionate knife crime prevention orders. The proposed orders, which are due to be debated in the House of Lords today (Wednesday 6 February), are a back door to custody. If it is suspected, not certain, that they have carried a knife twice in two years, children as young as twelve can be given an order lasting up to two years. The order can stipulate where they go, when they have to be indoors and what they can look at and say on social media. Breaching that civil order could see them getting a prison sentence of up to two years.

 

The Government says it has listened, and got the message that prevention is what will help most. But there is no evidence that orders like these prevent harmful behaviour, or address the root causes of knife carrying. Children and young people carry knives for complex reasons, including fear for their own safety. Effective prevention means dealing with that complexity, and investing in organisations and programmes rooted in the communities that are suffering the most. Reaching yet again for the easy but ineffective punitive option lets down the very people the government says it wants to help.

 

Pippa Goodfellow, Director, Standing Committee for Youth Justice

Peter Dawson, Director, Prison Reform Trust

Helen Schofield, Acting Chief Executive, Probation Institute

Andy Peaden, Chair, Association of Youth Offending Team Managers

Frances Crook, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform

Jacob Tas, Chief Executive, Nacro

Tariq Desai, Lawyer Criminal Justice, Justice

Matt Hussey, Public Affairs Manager, The Children’s Society

Baillie Aaron, Founder and CEO, Spark Inside

Amira Asantewa, Director of Communities, Grit

Bob Ashford, Founder, Wipetheslateclean

Jonathan Black, Chair, London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association

Phil Bowen, Director, Centre for Justice Innovation

Nina Champion, Director, Criminal Justice Alliance

Rohati Chapman, Interim CEO, Khulisa

Caimin Collins, Chief Executive Officer, MAC-UK

Darren Coyne, Projects and Development Worker, The Care Leavers Association

Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England

Jamie Gill, Partnership Director, 1625 Independent People

Anne-Marie Day, Researcher and Lecturer, University of Bedfordshire

Nicky Hill, Interim CEO, StreetDoctors

Ben Kernighan, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Leap Confronting Conflict

Ross Little, Chair, National Association for Youth Justice

Ian McCaul, Chief Executive Officer, Chiltern Way Academy Trust

Mary O'Shaughnessy, Consultant

Kate Paradine, CEO, Women in Prison

Enver Solomon, Chief Executive Officer, Just for Kids Law

Christopher Stacey, Co-director, Unlock

John Tenconi, Chair, Michael Sieff Foundation

George Turner, Manager, Carney's Community Centre

Bill Waddington, Chair, Criminal Law Solicitors' Association

Caroline Liggins, Associate, Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors 

Andrea Coomber, Director, Justice