Senior police figures want extra powers to tackle knife crime in capital

Allegra Stratton

Former National Editor

Senior police figures are asking the government to give them extra powers to control serious violence across the country.

Chief Superintendent Ade Adelekan, in charge of London's serious violence taskforce, told ITV News he has asked the Home Office for a new knife crime behaviour order to be created.

The minister for crime, Victoria Atkins, confirmed to ITV News she had received the request and was looking at the proposal “carefully”.

The government is this week coordinating police action to take knives off the streets amid signs that levels of serious violence have “stabilised”.

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The alarmingly high numbers of fatal stabbings seen in the first few months of the year were not replicated in the early summer months, though the month of August saw a return to high numbers of fatal stabbings.

Since the creation of the government's serious violence taskforce, Chief Superintendent Adelekan attends every incident. He told us: “My take is this: stabilisation is where we are. We see knife crime in its totality plateauing and actually coming down ever so slightly”.

These weapons were found during the raid. Credit: ITV News

Despite some signs of success, Adelekan told ITV News he believes police need a new power to deal with the high numbers of young people carrying knives.

Across London, Adelekan says there are currently 1,101 so-called habitual knife carriers or 'HKCs'.

Adelekan said: “We are currently trying to drive through a different way of looking at prevention. Whether we can get some sort of legislation into the new offensive weapons bill that will help deal with the knife crime issue.

“We're looking at possibly a knife crime prevention order. If that could be possible that would do a whole load of preventative activity but that is still very much in discussion, that bill is at report stage at the moment. Whether we get it in or not, I don't know, but we are trying.”

“Colleagues from other organisations and across the country have contributed to getting that request to where it currently is”.

Senior police figures want extra powers to tackle serious violence in capital. Credit: ITV News

The power would be a civil order placed on a person carrying a knife and breaching it would be a criminal offence.

Police officers believe the current regime of orders aren't enough to prevent people carrying knives.

Criminal Behaviour Orders are designed for those already convicted and of limited use with young people.

Police believe another existing order - the Gang Injunction Order - is similarly unusable since many young people sucked into violence and drug dealing are not clearly members of gangs.

The minister for crime, Victoria Atkins, is looking at the proposal. Credit: ITV News

The crime minister Victoria Atkins told ITV News she had received the proposal from London's serious violence taskforce.

She said: “This is an idea that the chief super has approached me and others about. We are looking into it very carefully.”

“The police have a range of orders at the moment. They have criminal behaviour orders, they have gang injunction orders as well if the evidence threshold is met. It is something we are looking into carefully because of course, you know, we listen to the police and we want to take great care in what they suggest to us.”