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Knives: Crime

Home Office written question – answered on 15th January 2020.

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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 assessment she has made of trends in the level of knife crime in (a) Bexley, (b) London and (c) the UK.

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

Statistics are collected at the Police Force Area level only. Statistics for lower levels of geography (e.g. London Borough level) are not held by the Home Office. The Government takes seriously the concerns that have been expressed about the levels of serious violence in Bexley and other boroughs in London over recent months and has sought an assessment of the current response by the Metropolitan Police.

The Government is strengthening police numbers over the next three years by putting extra police officers on the streets and increasing sentences for violent criminals. Police will be given more powers to stop and search those who have been convicted of knife crime. 6,000 additional officers will be recruited in England and Wales by March 2021 and their ranks will be increased by 20,000 over the next three years.

Funding for policing is increasing by £1 billion this year, including council tax and the Serious Violence Fund, through which, we are providing £63.4 million to the 18 police forces worst affected by serious violence to pay for surge operational activity, such as increased patrols, and £1.6 million to help improve the quality of data on serious violence, particularly knife crime, to support planning and operations. This includes an additional £20.8 million of surge funding to the Metropolitan Police. In addition, £35 million of the Serious Violence Fund is being invested in Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), which will form a key component of our action to build capacity in local areas to tackle serious violence.

The Government will change the law so that police, councils and health authorities are legally required to work together to prevent and tackle serious violence. The Offensive Weapons Act introduces new laws which to give police extra powers to seize dangerous weapons and ensure knives are less likely to make their way onto the streets in the first place.

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