Knives: Crime

Home Office written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi Labour, Slough

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of trends in the level of knife crime in (a) Slough constituency and (b) the UK.

Photo of Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi Labour, Slough

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce incidences of knife crime in (a) Slough constituency and (b) the UK.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department

There were 1,514 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded by Thames Valley Police in 2018/19, a 13 per cent increase compared with the previous year, and a 30 per cent increase since 2010/11. Across England and Wales, there has been an 8 per cent increase in 2018/19, and a 42 per cent increase since 2010/11. These increases are thought to be partly a genuine increase and partly due to improvements in the police recording of these offences.

We are taking determined action to tackle knife crime and other serious violence. This includes giving the police the resources and tools they need to keep families, communities and our country safe. We have recently launched a national campaign to begin to recruit 20,000 new police officers over the next three years, and we are making it easier for the police to use stop and search powers.

Police funding is increasing by more than £1 billion this year, including council tax and additional funding through the £100 million Serious Violence Fund. This Fund includes £63.4 million for surge operational activity, £35 million to support Violence Reduction Units, and £1.6 million to help improve the quality of data on serious violence. Thames Valley Police are receiving £1.94 million from the Fund for surge activity and a further £1.16 million for their Violence Reduction Unit.

In addition, through the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, we are providing the police with more powers, and making it more difficult for young people to get hold of knives in the first place. The Act includes Knife Crime Prevention Orders which will give the police an important new tool to help them to work with people to steer them away from serious violence and knife crime.

We continue to encourage all police forces to undertake a series of coordinated national weeks of action to tackle knife crime under Operation Sceptre. The operation includes targeted stop and searches, weapon sweeps, surrender of knives, including through amnesty bins, test purchases of knives from retailers, and educational events. The latest phase of the operation took place from 17 to 22 September.

We are also addressing the root causes of crime by investing over £220 million in early intervention projects and in July this year, the Government announced a new legal duty on public bodies to prevent and tackle serious violence. This will ensure that all relevant services work together to share data and knowledge, and to allow them to target their interventions to prevent violence altogether.

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