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Backbench Business — Gangs and Serious Youth Violence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:33 pm on 3rd March 2016.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 1:33 pm, 3rd March 2016

I will address that point briefly, but I must make some progress because I am conscious that this debate is to be followed by an extremely important debate on Welsh affairs in which many Members want to take part. On the figures, on which Lyn Brown commented, we want to see these crimes recorded. We want the police to know about them and we want to understand what is happening.

I recently visited the A&E department at King’s College hospital in the constituency of Helen Hayes. It is absolutely tragic that the first opportunity we get to have a teachable moment with these young people is when they turn up at A&E. They are turning up not in an ambulance—the gangs do not phone an ambulance or any other blue light service—but in private cars and being dumped at A&E, and that is the first opportunity that any agency has to make contact with them.

I want to pay tribute to Redthread, which provides young people’s advocates at A&E departments across London. Those advocates are important in making contact not only with the young person who has been the victim of an attack but with their family when they come to visit. They play an important part in keeping that young person in hospital and getting them to speak to someone they trust. That might be the first opportunity we have to speak to them, and we need to find a way of making that happen sooner. This is about education, about working with schools and about working in vulnerable locations. When I talk about the revised programme, I will mention some of the approaches that we are using in that regard. I want all those hidden crimes that are not being recorded at the moment to be reported and recorded so that we can understand what the problem is. [Interruption.] I sense that Dawn Butler might want to intervene on me, but this must be the final intervention as I need to make some progress.