Knives: Crime

Home Office written question – answered on 14th July 2021.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker Conservative, Wycombe

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps she has taken to reduce knife crime among young people through working with schools.

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

This Government is committed to reducing serious violence, including knife crime, and prevent the tragedies affecting our communities. We are taking a whole system approach - this involves working with a wide range of partners to combat crime, including schools.

We have invested £105.5m over three years into to establish and develop 18 multi-agency Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), which bring together key partners across health, education, policing, housing, and others to address the root causes of serious violence in the worst affected areas. These VRUs commission a range of interventions to intervene early and prevent crime, including close working with schools to support vulnerable young people, such as through mentoring programmes, sports-based interventions, and behavioural therapy. With an additional £30 million this year for ‘Grip’ funding, to bolster operational problem-solving police activity work, some forces are also carrying out interventions, engagement and education work in schools alongside the VRUS. We have also invested £200 million in early intervention and understanding what interventions work best to reduce violence, through the 10-Year Youth Endowment Fund (YEF). YEF’s funded projects ensure those most at risk are given the opportunity to turn away from violence and lead positive lives; and will provide robust evidence about the effectiveness of different interventions.

The Government also supports Operation Sceptre’s knife crime weeks of action conducted by police forces across England and Wales, which include knife crime awareness session in education establishments. In the last week of action beginning 26 April, police forces conducted 1,481 school engagement events.

In addition, in 2020 the National Police Chiefs’ Council published guidance to schools on ‘When to call the police’ which provides advice regarding incidents on schools and colleges premises if a potential crime has been committed. This covers weapons enabled crime and also how to identify vulnerable children. It should be read alongside DfE’s statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education.

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