THE mum of a schoolgirl who was stabbed in the neck by a 14-year-old boy has said new stop and search powers should apply to children.
Ava White, 12,had travelled into Liverpool city centre to see the Christmas lights when she was knifed in the neck.
Ava was attacked by a 14 -year-old boy during a row about a Snapchat video on November 25 2021.
The boy , who cannot be named for legal reasons, was later jailed for for a minimum of 13 years.
Her mother Leeann has now backed a pilot scheme to allow police to stop and search adults over 18 who have previously been convicted of carrying bladed or offensive weapons.
But the Liverpool woman has said that it should be extended to include younger offenders.
Speaking to Sky News, she said: "I think it should be brought down to 12.
"There are children as young as 12 carrying knives. Ava's murderer was just 14.
"And maybe if these powers had been introduced earlier then the knife that killed her could have been taken off the streets."
Merseyside is one of four police forces taking part in a two-year trial of the use of serious violence reduction orders, or SVROs. The others are the Thames Valley, West Midlands and Sussex.
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SVROs are civil orders that can be placed on over 18s who have been convicted of an offence involving a bladed or offensive weapon.
They give police the power to stop and search the individual.
Human rights group Liberty have labelled stop and search "humiliating."
Merseyside Police said the orders will help to tackle prolific, high-risk offenders, by making it easier for police to search them for weapons.
The force also said that SVROs will also help protect first time offenders from being drawn into further exploitation by criminal gangs, by acting as a deterrent to any further weapons carrying.
Nationally, recorded knife crime has risen over a period of several years.
Merseyside Police said that January2023 saw the lowest level of knife crime since April 2020, and the lowest level of overall serious violence since February 2021.
Since 2019, and up to January 2023, Merseyside Police has seized over 10,000 weapons and made over 3,000 arrests for serious violence offences.
Superintendent Phil Mullally, Merseyside’s Lead for Serious Violence and Knife Crime said: “We welcome the opportunity to trial these new powers and keep the pressure on those who are involved in the most serious violent crime and ultimately, keep our communities safe.
“Both serious violence and knife crime are falling in Merseyside, but we know there is still work to do. These new powers will enable us to continue to drive down knife crime and re-offending.
“Merseyside Police is absolutely committed to targeting those who bring misery to our communities and getting knives and offensive weapons off our streets.
“The new powers will enable a more proactive approach for repeat offenders and will help us protect those most vulnerable from being drawn into further exploitation by criminal gangs.”
“This pilot coincides with a range of activity already taking place to tackle knife crime and serious violence on Merseyside, including Operation Target – our force wide operation to tackle serious and violent crime – local policing operations and the work of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Unit.”
Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Jon Roy said: “Tackling serious violence is a key priority for the force.
"Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) will enable the police to proactively search those who we know have previously carried a knife or offensive weapon.
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"With every weapon seized, a potential life is saved.
“We are confident that these new powers will help deter offenders, help change behaviour and provide reassurance to communities that action is being taken.”
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