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

I thank the right hon. Lady for her comments. She knows from the many debates that we have had on this matter, and the many occasions on which she and I and Home Office Ministers have discussed it, that we all recognise the great fear, worries and concerns of mums and dads in certain parts of the country that have been suffering from these crimes for some time. That is precisely why we issued the serious violence strategy last year. [Interruption.] The right hon. Lady is chuntering at me. I am trying to answer her questions.

It is because of that fear that we are putting so much effort into supporting local charities, through both our anti-knife crime community fund and our early intervention youth fund, to help young people and children and their families. We are also working on the youth endowment fund, which will invest some £200 million over 10 years to support projects to intervene on young people and protect them from being ensnared by gang leaders.

The right hon. Lady was right to raise the issue of resources. Only a couple of weeks ago we voted to increase police resources by nearly £1 billion, and I am sorry that she did not feel able to vote for that. Police funds were increased last year, and will be increased again next year.

The right hon. Lady talked about summits and meetings and so on. The point of those is getting the right people into the room to tackle this issue together. As we all know, there is no single simple solution. I wish that there were, but the issue is very complex. That is why there are both short-term and longer-term measures in the strategy, which meets with the approval of the police and others with whom we engage to try to crack this problem.

I very much hope that today we will yet again hear fruitful, constructive and non-partisan comments about this topic, because it is affecting every single one of our constituencies. We need to work together to get it right, because when I meet victims and their families they want to hear what we are doing, not what our conversations across the Dispatch Box are about.