Violent offences prevention orders
A court can give an offender a Violent Offences Prevention Order (VOPO) to protect the public if there's a risk the offender could cause serious violent harm. The order places restrictions on the offender's behaviour. A court can give a VOPO to adult and young offenders.
When a court makes a VOPO
The court can make a VOPO against someone:
- who has committed a specified offence
- when police apply because a risk has been identified
The order lasts between two and five years. The court can make an interim order when immediate protection from risk is necessary.
The order can also be changed, renewed or dismissed by the court.
What a VOPO does
The order forbids or restricts certain behaviour for the offender. They also need to give the police some personal information.
Qualifying for a VOPO
A court can make a VOPO against someone:
- convicted of a specified offence
- found not guilty of a specified offence by reason of insanity
- found to be unfit to be tried and to have committed the specified offence as charged
A VOPO can also be given for:
- offences and crimes committed before1 December 2016
- offences and crimes committed abroad
Before the court makes an order, they must be satisfied a VOPO is necessary to protect the public from the risk of serious violent harm the offender could cause.
Depending on the offender's case, the court can make certain conditions with the order.
The conditions can limit or ban the offender from:
- doing certain activities
- going to some places
- seeing certain people
The offender might need to do a rehabilitation programme.
A specified offence
Specified offences include:
- malicious wounding
- threat to kill
- List of violent offences referred to in the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008
When someone is given a VOPO, the police need to know their whereabouts. They must give the police their personal information including:
- date of birth
- national insurance number
- home address and any other addresses where they live
- all intended travel within the United Kingdom
- all intended travel outside the United Kingdom, or intended travel to the Republic of Ireland (when travelling for three days or more)
- when living or staying for at least 12 hours in a household or other private place where a child lives or stays
- bank accounts, credit and debit cards held, whether alone or with another person and whether in the name of an unincorporated business
- passport or other forms of identification held
Giving personal information to the police
The offender must give their personal information to police within three days of order being made or from leaving custody. They must update their information annually, weekly if they've no fixed address, or when their information changes.
Breaking a VOPO
It's a criminal offence to break a condition of a Violent Offences Prevention Order. You could get a fine, imprisoned for up to five years or both penalties.