knife crimes

Knife Crime Prevention Orders would impose sanctions, including bans on using social media to stir up trouble.

Orders would target anyone in England and Wales aged 12 or over suspected of knife crime involvement, even if they are not caught with a blade.

Critics said the orders risked criminalising young people.

The possession of knives has increased by almost a third in five years, figures released earlier this month showed.

It is already a crime to carry a blade in public without good reason - and there is a separate offence of taking a knife into a school.

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The House of Lords is being asked to approve the proposed prevention orders as part of the government's Offensive Weapons Bills.

If a court is convinced the police's intelligence is probably right, it can impose sanctions including:

Curfews to keep the suspect off the streets and out of specific areas where gangs clash

Requirements to attend special knife awareness courses to change their thinking

Barring the suspect from using social media to encourage feuds

Banning them for up to two years from meeting other members of their gang

The prevention orders can also be imposed on someone convicted of carrying a knife, in an attempt to prevent them returning to their old ways.

Breaching an order would be a criminal offence punishable with up to two years in prison.

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