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Serious Violence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:38 pm on 18th February 2019.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department 8:38 pm, 18th February 2019

I agree. My hon. Friend puts it appropriately. It is worth taking this opportunity to emphasise that the whole purpose of the order is to prevent people, especially young people, from being drawn into a life of crime in the first place. It is a preventive measure. The police have asked for it and it is supported by the Mayor of London. The serious violence taskforce has discussed it with experts, and it should be considered carefully by the House.

Fifthly, we are doing what we can to dismantle county lines—a horrific and often highly violent form of criminal child exploitation. We have provided £3.6 million to establish a new national county lines co-ordination centre. This will enhance intelligence sharing across the country to ensure that vulnerable children are being identified and safeguarded, and we are already starting to see some good results. Since the centre became fully operational in September, it has carried out two separate weeks of co-ordinated national action, resulting in over 1,100 arrests and 1,000 individuals safeguarded.

Sixthly, we are supporting the police response to serious violence. We know that the demands on police are high, and rising violent crime is stretching them even further. That is why we are giving them the support they need, raising police funding by up to £970 million next year, including council tax. I am delighted that police and crime commissioners collectively plan to strengthen their forces as a result and are consulting on plans to use their additional funding to recruit 2,800 officers. This will help to fight serious violence on the ground. It represents the biggest uplift in police funding since 2010, yet it is notable that some Members did not vote for the settlement.

We continue to back Operation Spectre—co-ordinated national police action on knife crime. The results of this latest drive speak for themselves, with over 1,000 arrests and more than 9,000 knives already taken off the streets. In addition, last year I announced £1.4 million to support a new national police hub to tackle gang-related activity online. It will be fully operational from May, focusing on disrupting criminality and referring content to social media companies to be removed. These companies must be prepared to do much more, and I have already been very clear that I am prepared to legislate if they do not play their part.

Finally, we are acting to tackle the drivers of serious violence. As part of our public health package, I launched an independent drugs misuse review to investigate how the trade is fuelling serious violence. Earlier this month I appointed Professor Dame Carol Black to lead that vital work, and I take this opportunity to thank her for her efforts.

I hope the importance that I place on tackling serious violence is very clear. I have no greater priority than saving lives, providing peace of mind that our loved ones will be safe when they step out the door, and making everyone feel secure on our streets. I have set out our approach and the range of work that is under way to try to achieve those aims, how that has been stepped up since I became Home Secretary, and how we will continue to strive to do more. This Conservative Government are clear that this senseless violence must stop, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that happens. I commend this motion to the House.