Serious Violence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:49 pm on 15th May 2019.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:49 pm, 15th May 2019

I must make some progress.

We also continue to refresh our national media campaign, which I referred to earlier. The #knifefree campaign warns young people about the dangers of carrying a knife.

I want to highlight a third action, which is the multi-agency public health approach, and how it can help to tackle violent crime. It involves all parts of the public sector working together to stop serious violence. To make that happen, we are consulting on a new legal duty to ensure that every agency plays its part. Our teachers, nurses and social workers already work tirelessly to protect our children. It is not about asking them to do any more, because they already do so much; it is about giving them the support and the confidence they need to report their concerns, safe in the knowledge that everyone will close ranks to protect that child. It is also about ensuring that all agencies share information to ensure that no one slips through the cracks. To support the multi-agency approach, we are investing £35 million in new violence reduction units to bring local partners together in hotspots. Work is under way to finalise those plans; I hope to provide an update on the proposals in the coming weeks.

Finally, we are investigating the root causes of violence so we can tackle the problem at source. We know that social media plays a part, with gangs trading weapons and taunting each other online. Our new “Online Harms White Paper” sets out our expectations for internet companies to do more. Later this month, the Met will launch a new social media hub to enhance our response.

The changing drugs market and the growth of county lines gangs is another key factor. The National Crime Agency estimates that there are about 2,000 active county lines fuelling serious violence. Last September, we set up the national county lines co-ordination centre. It is already showing results, with more than 1,100 people arrested and more than 1,300 people safeguarded following national intensification weeks.