Serious Violence Reduction Orders (Pilot Scheme 2023)

Posted: 25 May 2023

April 2023 was the start of the Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVRO) pilot program. This included four forces: Thames Valley, West Midlands, Merseyside and Sussex. This program will trial the new stop and search powers to target those who are subject to this new order. It is mainly in respect of offenders convicted of offences including a bladed article or an offensive weapon.

What is this?

A Serious Violence Reduction Order (SVRO) is a new civil order under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. It is applied through the court when a person is convicted of any offence involving a knife or an offensive weapon. It is applied by the police to provide them with a further power to stop and search a person if they further suspect them to be in possession of a bladed article or offensive weapon in a public place. They then have the power to detain them for that reason.

The court may only make this order if convicted on or after the first day of this pilot. It cannot be made in relation to a conviction for an offence committed previous to the commencement of this pilot.

In order to apply for the SVRO, the police must satisfy the following elements.

  1. The offender must be 18 or over
  2. The court must be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that a bladed article or offensive weapon was used by or possession of the offender when the offence was committed.
  3. The court must consider it necessary to make the order in the interest of the public and reduce the risk of harm involving such bladed article or offensive weapon.

These orders will last for a minimum of six months and up to a maximum of 2 years. The court makes the decision of how long the order lasts in each case.

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 Breach of SVRO

There is a possibility that an offender could breach this type of order. These include, providing false information to the police, informing the police that they are not subject to an order and intentionally obstructing the police in exercising their stop and search power.

The penalty for breaching such an order is current a maximum of 12 months’ imprisonment or a minimum of a fine (unlimited) or both.

 Appeal against a SVRO

When a SVRO is granted against a person, they may appeal against this decision as if the order were a sentence passed against them.

An appeal may be made against a decision to vary, renew or discharge an order, or a refusal to do so to the Court of Appeal where the application was made to the Crown Court.

Purpose of the Pilot?

The pilot will monitor and gather data to evaluate the impact of the order based upon a certain area’s statistics in these areas of offending. The data will be measured on different aspects like the effects of the orders on reoffenders, and whether it assist in reducing the level of bladed articles or offensive weapon offences within those specific areas based upon the orders in place.

If it is found to be successful, these orders will be then rolled out across England and Wales to be utilised by all police forces.

If you have any queries, or wish to discuss, please contact our Criminal Team call 01376 559 690 or 01245 493959 or you can send an email.


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