Knife Crime

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:49 pm on 4th March 2019.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:49 pm, 4th March 2019

I thank the hon. Lady for her questions. She started, quite correctly, by talking about how the House is united in its grief with regard to all the deaths that we have seen, particularly of young people, not just in recent days but over the last number of years, when we have seen an increase in these tragic crimes that are dividing communities and causing so much pain for so many people.

The hon. Lady asked me three questions. First, this is a huge priority across Government. That is why, almost a year ago, the Government set out a serious violence strategy with over 60 actions taking place that involve not just Government but other public agencies and bodies. To help implement those actions, we also set up a serious violence taskforce, which is cross-party and includes people such as the Mayor of London, so that we can make sure that we are working well not just within central Government, but across public bodies.

That brings me to the hon. Lady’s second point: the public health approach, which I announced towards the end of last year. Again, that came through listening to experience both from other parts of the UK and other countries that have seen a similar rise in serious violence. We should learn from wherever we can. It is important to have such an approach, which requires all Departments and agencies of Government to treat serious violence in the way we would treat, for example, a disease—to prioritise it and make that a statutory duty. That is why I welcome the support for that approach from hon. Members across the House. As I said, because it is a statutory duty, it will require legislation. That begins with a consultation, which is about to take place shortly.

Thirdly, the hon. Lady asked about funding and resources. As I mentioned, I have long recognised that in tackling serious violence, there is no one single course, but having the right amount of resources is vital. That is why we set out in the House earlier this year an increase of up to £970 million for policing—almost double the increase in the year before and the largest increase since 2010—which will lead to a significant rise in capabilities, including in the number of officers. Finally, alongside that, we have announced a record allocation to early intervention, especially helping young people through the £200 million youth endowment fund, which is the biggest such investment that any Government have ever made.