Banbury man jailed for six months for carrying a knife

A man from Banbury has been sent to prison for six months and given the area's first Serious Violence Reduction Order (SVRO) after pleading guilty to carrying a knife in public.
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John Birshu, aged 34, of Middleton Road, was sentenced to six months in prison yesterday (June 29) at Reading Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of possession of a knife in a public place.

The offender also received Thames Valley Police’s first ever Serious Violence Reduction Order (SVRO), which will come into effect when he is released from prison.

The sentence relates to an incident at around 7.30pm on Tuesday May 30, when officers were called to Middleton Road following reports of a man seen with a knife.

Banbury man John Birshu becomes the first offender in the Thames Valley Police area to receive a Serious Violence Reduction Order after pleading guilty to one count of possession of a knife in a public place.Banbury man John Birshu becomes the first offender in the Thames Valley Police area to receive a Serious Violence Reduction Order after pleading guilty to one count of possession of a knife in a public place.
Banbury man John Birshu becomes the first offender in the Thames Valley Police area to receive a Serious Violence Reduction Order after pleading guilty to one count of possession of a knife in a public place.

Officers attended and searched the offender, who admitted to previously being in possession of a knife and was subsequently arrested. He was later charged on May 31 and pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates’ Court the following day.

Investigating Officer PC Peter Hayward said: "Thames Valley Police takes knife crime extremely seriously, and the carrying of knives will not be tolerated. I hope this swift arrest, charge, conviction, and sentencing shows that we will take robust action to deal with anyone involved in knife crime to keep our communities safe."

The SVRO can be used on someone who has been convicted of an offence that involved a bladed item or offensive weapon.

If a person has been issued an SVRO, the police can stop them in public places without reasonable grounds and search them to see if they are carrying a bladed item or an offensive weapon.

SVROs are granted for a set period of time, determined by the court, with a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years.

Chief Inspector Jade Hewitt, tactical commander for reducing knife crime, said: "Tackling serious violence and knife crime is a priority for Thames Valley Police. Knives ruin lives, tearing apart families and spreading fear in our communities, particularly with young people.

"As one of four forces trialling these new powers, we welcome this - the first Serious Violence Reduction Order to be granted in the Thames Valley. These powers allow us to apply further pressure on those who have been involved in knife offences so that we can keep our communities safe. This should send a clear a message to those who think it is acceptable or necessary to carry a weapon that there are consequences.

"Our broader response to knife crime includes our work partners to increase education and early intervention initiatives to prevent young people being drawn into crime in the first place. Then, through proactive policing we target the hotspots for violence, increasing our presence through high visibility patrols, operations and proportionate use of powers such as Stop & Search. When we make arrests, we ensure there are robust criminal justice processes that put the offender before the courts to receive a swift outcome."

For more information on the Serious Violence Reduction Order (SVRO), visit the Thames Valley Website here, https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/st-s/stop-and-search/serious-violence-reduction-orders/