The Government is determined to do everything it can to tackle knife crime and break the deadly cycle of violence that devastates the lives of victims, families and communities. The latest statistics published by the Office for National Statistics on 25 April for the year ending December 2018 show an increase of 6 per cent in police recorded knife crime across England and Wales, including a 4 per cent increase in the Northumbria police area.
We are taking action to address these increases on a number of fronts in support of our Serious Violence Strategy. This includes providing the police with the powers and resources they need to take effective action in all areas of the country. Through the Offensive Weapons Act we are tightening the law in relation to knives, including making it an offence to possess certain offensive weapons in private, and stopping knives being sent to residential addresses after they are bought online unless the seller has arrangements with a delivery company to verify age. We are also introducing new Knife Crime Prevention Orders, requested by the police to help them to tackle young people who are on the cusp of serious violence, to help them make more positive lifestyle choices. We also continue to support the police national weeks of action against knife crime under Operation Sceptre.
The police funding settlement provides the police with the biggest increase in funding since 2010, and in addition we are providing the additional £100 million to tackle serious violence announced in the Spring Statement on 13 March, which includes £80m of new funding from the Treasury. The majority of the investment will go towards supporting the police forces most affected by the violence we are seeing, but the funding will also support Violence Reduction Units, bringing together a range of agencies, including health, education, social services and others, to develop a multi-agency approach to preventing serious violence. £63.4 million of this funding has already been allocated to 18 police forces most affected by serious violence to pay for surge operational activity, including increased patrols, and £1.6 million to help improve the quality of data on serious violence, particularly knife crime, to support planning and operations. Northumbria has been allocated £2.32m from this fund.
We are also raising awareness among young people of the dangers of carrying a knife through our national media campaign - #knifefree – and supporting early intervention through the £22 million Early Intervention Youth Fund, which is already supporting 29 local projects, including £371,632 allocated to the Police and Crime Commissioner in Northumbria to target young people on the periphery of involvement with the criminal justice system, as a result of their escalating offending behaviour.
We have also introduced the £200 million Youth Endowment Fund, which will be delivered over the next 10 years to support interventions with children and young people at risk of involvement in crime and violence, focusing on those most at risk. The charity Impetus, working in partnership with the Early Intervention Foundation and Social Investment Business, is now operating the Fund
A full list of the forces and the funding they have received from the serious violence fund is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/police-granted-funding-boost-for-action-on-serious-violence.