Introduction of the ‘Sentencing Code’

The Sentencing Bill (2019-2021) has now been introduced in Parliament. The intended commencement date is 1 October 2020. Parts 2 to 13 of the Bill are referred to as the Sentencing Code and are intended to provide a clear and logical structure to the sentencing procedural law, updating the language used and bringing the many provisions into one enactment. The Ministry of Justice say that this change will remove the need to refer to historic versions of the legislation, making complex sentencing laws more accessible for the public, judiciary and practitioners.

[Access to the GOV.UK press release here, Law Commission report here, and Bill here]


Knife Crime Prevention Orders Pilot in London

The Home Office has announced that the pilot of knife crime prevention orders (KCPOs), first introduced by the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, will begin in London on 6 April 2020 and will run for 14 months. These new civil orders are intended to be an additional tool that the police can use to work with young people and adults to help steer them away from knife crime.

The orders can be imposed by the criminal courts on anyone aged 12 or over if they are believed by the police to be carrying a knife and can contain both restrictions and positive requirements. Prior to conviction, or in circumstances where there is no charge against an individual, KCPOs can be made on application by the police. For a KCPO to be made on conviction, the Crown Prosecution Service must make an application to the court.

A KCPO must specify its duration and can last between six months and no more than two years. Breach of a KCPO is a criminal offence, and those who commit the offence may be sentenced up to two years in prison.

[Full GOV.UK press release here]