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

The hon. Gentleman knows that I have often raised on the Floor of the House the use of reserves, because police reserves are made up of money that the taxpayer has given to police forces to spend on policing. In March last year, West Midlands police’s reserves were £85 million. I am sure the police and crime commissioner would be able to explain why that money is sitting in reserves and, indeed, he may have spent some of it in the past year, but the issue with funding is how it is spent as much as how much is given. On the hon. Gentleman’s point about sentences, we have put the legislation in place, and although it is open to any judge or magistrate to imprison someone who is found in possession of a knife once, it is then mandatory on the second occasion of their being caught. If that is not being followed by judges, it is a decision of the judiciary.