Young men and women are dying on the streets—three in recent days in Birmingham alone, mourned by their families—and I meet teenagers in Erdington who are now afraid to go out at night. Of course a public health approach is vital, and we urge the Home Secretary to back the bid for a violence reduction unit to bring together all agencies to combat growing knife crime effectively.
However, that is not enough; we need more police officers. Forgive me if I say this, Mr Speaker, but the Home Secretary spoke about record resources. The previous Government put 17,000 extra police officers and 16,000 police community support officers on the beat. This Government have cut 21,000 police officers, including 2,100 in Birmingham alone. Does the Home Secretary not accept that there is an inevitable link between falling police numbers and rising crime, and in particular rising knife crime?