The United Kingdom government is adamant about decreasing the murder rates, and it is making new efforts to accomplish that in the new year. It’s making it legally necessary for all forms of public services in the UK, i.e., not just the police, to work collaboratively to determine some of the most fundamental causes of violent crimes so that the necessary governmental bodies can start from there to reduce the rates of murders. A few changes are being made, so this article highlights some 2023 updates to UK laws regarding serious violence and homicide.

The Introduction of the Serious Violence Duty

The most significant change in UK law regarding murders and serious violence is the legal requirement for various public sector organisations in the UK to share any information they possess about local incidents of violent crimes, which include the use of knives and guns and the loss of individuals’ lives, i.e., homicide. This new law is called the Serious Violence Duty, which became a part of UK law in January 2023.

Some of the public sectors that will be compelled to operate under the Serious Violence Duty include

  • The police
  • Healthservices
  • Fire services
  • Rescue services,
  • Criminal justice partners
  • Local government

These public sector organisations must work together to determine the causes of serious violence in their respective communities. Therefore, the Serious Violence Duty is community-specific. That said, the Home Secretary can intervene and encourage some sectors to do more if there’s a lack of progress from each of them.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (2022)

The Serious Violence Duty is yet another attempt to work on reducing serious violence following the introduction of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (2022). The latter law was geared toward tackling serious violence that was focused on youth violence in public spaces. These acts of violence include crimes committed with knives and guns. It also evaluates instances of violence where there are greater threats of violence being committed—for example, county lines. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (2022) was also amended after its introduction into UK law to include sexual offences and domestic abuse under the umbrella of serious violence.

Additional 2023 Updates to UK Laws Regarding Serious Violence and Homicide

A few other 2023 updates to UK laws regarding serious violence and homicide include the ability for 4 police forces in the UK to stop and search individuals who have been convicted of offensive weapon offences or knife crimes in the past. These new powers will be trialed in early 2023, and if there’s a lot of opposition, it may change.

In addition, local authorities, the police, and public health bodies in 3  UK regions will collaborate to review existing and new cases of homicides that involve offensive weapons. The purpose is to identify any patterns in the offenders or violence to determine if there are any potential underlying causes that are leading to such violent crimes among specific individuals.