Knife Crime – 15/05/2019
In recent months, the country has been shocked and appalled by a surge in knife crime.
Stabbings are becoming increasingly common. There has been 93% rise in the number of young people being stabbed since 2012 and knife offences reached a record high of 39,818 between September 2017 and September 2018.
We cannot pretend that nine years of cuts to policing have not made our country less safe. Since, 2010, the Government has taken £2.7 billion out of policing and some 21,000 officers, 6,800 PCSOs and 18,000 police staff have left the force. As a consequence, neighbourhood policing, which helps to prevent crime, has been undermined.
At the same time, the Government’s underfunding of public services has removed the support structures that prevent people from being drawn into crime and violence. Our overstretched services are unable to provide the specialist support that children in particular desperately need.
In response to cuts from central Government, local authorities have reduced spending on youth services by 70% since 2010 and, as a result, 600 youth centres closed between 2012 and 2016.
It’s not surprise that areas that have suffered the biggest surge in knife crime have also seen the highest budget cuts to youth services.
When young people aren’t given adequate support, we see the consequences in the prison population. Just 2% of the general population have been excluded from school, compared with 50% of the prison population.
To tackle the root causes of violence, we need to take a public health approach that encompasses youth services, school exclusions, housing, social services, mental health and health as a whole.
We’re proud of our MP, Louise Haigh, for holding the Government to account on these issues in her role as Shadow Policing Minister and for campaigning for the police and public services to be properly funded.
Now, more than ever, we need a Labour Government to bring an end to austerity and provide the investment needed to tackle the underlying causes of this shocking knife crime.