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Local Government Responsibilities: Public Services

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:04 pm on 18th March 2020.

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Photo of Ben Everitt Ben Everitt Conservative, Milton Keynes North 4:04 pm, 18th March 2020

Again, I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. I am sure that the Minister for Local Government, who is sitting on the Treasury Bench listening avidly to the pleas of councillors for more flexibility in the way that local government spend their finances, will heed that call.

Knife crime is a new problem for Milton Keynes, and it is incredibly worrying, but it is another example of where the public sector can work in partnership with communities and the voluntary sector. The police are on the frontline of knife crime, and I am pleased that they have extra money, officers, kit and powers, all of which are focused in Milton Keynes on solving the issue of knife crime. The extra money is incredibly welcome, and I will come back to that. There will be an extra 187 officers for Thames Valley, of which 36 will be in Milton Keynes. In terms of the extra kit, it really helps when the police know that they have a Taser to use.

There are also extra powers for the police. Parents say—again, this relates to the intersection between the public sector and the community—that, when the police use section 60 powers, it gives them confidence to know that an area is being policed. It also has a deterrent effect for young people who might think about going out with a knife.

It is through the extra money that there is an intersection with the public sector. Diversionary activities through boxing clubs, interventions in schools or projects such as the knife angel are incredibly good for bringing communities together. There is a demand management issue. There is also a data challenge, to enable the public sector, voluntary sector and charity sector to work together on a data-led response to a situation.