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 can absolutely give the right hon. Lady a sense of that. I did mention the public health approach, but I am happy to confirm again that the Government are absolutely going ahead with it. The consultation is going on at the moment, and I hope that when the proposals come to the Floor of the House they will get cross-party support.

The right hon. Lady asked how many people might be at risk. Our serious violence strategy has already set out the risk and protective factors that can increase the likelihood of a young person becoming a victim or perpetrator of serious violence.

There is a range of numbers, depending on where someone comes from and what risk factors we are looking at. For example, the Children’s Commissioner estimates that 27,000 children are at risk of gang involvement, and 7,720 pupils were permanently excluded from school in 2016-17. It is estimated that almost 500,000 children live in low-income households.

It is important not to oversimplify this when we look at the risk group. Evidence suggests that those with multiple risk factors are most at risk. Equally, young people with certain risk factors never commit or become a victim of any crime at all. This is a complex area, and the right hon. Lady is right to ask about it. I would be happy to write to her with a bit more information, but I hope that what I have shared with her has been helpful.

I want to refer briefly to the Prime Minister’s serious youth violence summit, which she set up to explore the public health approach further. I joined her at the opening session, which brought experts, politicians, young people and community workers together to tackle the issue. The four-day summit saw real results, including the creation of a new PM-chaired ministerial taskforce, which met for the first time last Wednesday. This will drive forward work across Government, supported by a new Cabinet Office team to help to deliver key actions. Alongside this, I will continue to chair our serious violence taskforce, which has met nine times over the past year, with members including the Met Commissioner and the Mayor of London. The taskforce will complement the work of the PM-led group, providing fresh ideas and external challenge as we unite against serious violence.

We are acting on every level to try to stop the senseless violence. It is my duty as Home Secretary to keep our streets safe, and serious violence is a threat that I refuse to ignore. Much has already been done, but we cannot fix this problem overnight. It is vital that we remain united against this deadly threat. Every child deserves a better future and the freedom to live without fear, and we must deliver. I commend this motion to the House.