Offence of threatening with an offensive weapon etc in a private place

Part of Offensive Weapons Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing) 5:00 pm, 28th November 2018

My right hon. Friend is right. After eight years of cuts to frontline policing, the Government have slapped on another £465 million cut by 2022, which we have been warned will cut another 10,000 police officers from our communities. It is completely intolerable.

New clause 6 would release the Home Office evidence—that we know exists, thanks to leaks—to public scrutiny. We know that Home Office officials believe that the reduction in police numbers has led to a reduction in so-called hotspotting and to an increase in violent crime.

But of course this is not just about police numbers; we need a wholesale review of the impact of the Government’s austerity agenda on the vital safety nets that keep our communities safe and the consequent impact on rising crime levels. The now famous example of where we have seen a successful approach is on our doorstep in Scotland, where a 20-year strategic approach was taken to reducing youth violence. That is what is required, as opposed to the Government’s strategy, which uses the rhetoric of early intervention and prevention but represents at most a three-year strategy.

The amendments in my name and those of my hon. Friends seek to strengthen and improve the weak legislation before us today. They seek an evidence-based response to the long-term trend in violence that we are witnessing as a result of this Government’s austerity agenda. We hope the Government will accept that much more needs to be done if we are to prevent any more young lives from being needlessly taken and will accept the amendments in our name.