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Knives: Greater London

Home Office written question – answered on 1st November 2019.

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Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Conservative, Bexleyheath and Crayford

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle knife crime in outer London.

Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Conservative, Bexleyheath and Crayford

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) London and (b) England.

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

Police recorded crime statistics published on 17 October by the Office for National Statistics show that across England and Wales, there has been a 7 per cent increase in offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the year to June 2019, and a 44 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. The latest force data are contained in the Open Data Tables to be found at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/839965/prc-knife-open-data-march2009-onwards-tables.ods

The following table shows the number of knife and sharp instrument offences recorded by the police for the financial year 2010/11 and the years ending June 2018 and June 2019, for London and England (excluding Greater Manchester):

Knife and Sharp instrument offences

% change year to June 2019 compared with:

2010/11

Year to June 2018

Year to June 2019

2010/11

Year to June 2018

London

13,356

14,989

15,023

12

0

England (excl GMP)

29,879

39,891

42,677

43

7

We are taking determined action to tackle knife crime and other serious violence across London and the rest of the country. 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. We are also giving police forces an additional £10 million to allow them to increase the number of officers who carry tasers to help protect themselves and the public from harm.

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. The Metropolitan Police has been allocated £20.84 million from the Serious Violence Fund for surge police activity and £7 million for the 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 the Queens Speech on 14 October, it was announced that we would be bringing forward a new Serious Violence Bill to introduce a new legal duty on public bodies to prevent and tackle serious violence.

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