Knife Crime

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:44 am on 7th March 2019.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women 10:44 am, 7th March 2019

Mr Speaker, the Home Secretary flew to Brussels last night to participate in the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, the significance of which at this time I am sure colleagues across the House will recognise. He Home Secretary asked me to respond to this urgent question on his behalf.

The senseless killings in recent days, and the too many others before them, have rightly shocked the country. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families of all the victims and everyone affected. There is no denying the urgency of this issue. Day in, day out, we are acting to end the bloodshed. At the start of the week, the Home Secretary came to the House to set out our approach to serious violence. He said there was no single solution and that we had to unite and fight on all fronts to stop the slaughter.

We are taking a tough law enforcement approach with our Offensive Weapons Bill, which is going through Parliament, and we have listened to what the police tell us they need and at their request are introducing knife crime prevention orders in that Bill. We are also increasing police funding by up to £970 million next year, including council tax, and police and crime commissioners are planning to recruit hundreds of new officers as a result.

We recognise, though, that we cannot arrest our way out of this. In the serious violence strategy, we announced a multi-agency approach, and we will consult very soon on a statutory public health duty of care to ensure that all agencies that can and must work on this play their part. We are also investing more than £220 million in early intervention projects to stop the most vulnerable being sucked into a life of violence and addressing the drivers of crime, including the drugs trade, with the launch of our independent drugs review.

Day in, day out, we, the police and others are acting across the country to try to stop the bloodshed. We continue to look for new ways to tackle this epidemic. Yesterday, I attended a serious violence summit with senior police officers hosted by the Home Secretary as part of our continuing work under the serious violence strategy. Consulting those on the frontline is vital to making sure our next steps are effective. While lives are being lost, we are determined to do even more to stop knife crime and serious violence. We owe it to our young people and our communities to get this right.