Rudd launches plan to crack down on violent crime

9 Apr 18

Home secretary Amber Rudd has launched a £40m serious violence strategy following the recent spate of knife and gun crime that has affected London particularly.

The Home Office said the initiative sought a balance between prevention and robust law enforcement, with funding for community projects to help young people live without the fear of violence.

It said the strategy was based around the changing drugs market, in particular crack cocaine, as a key driver of violence. It also seeks to tackle the ‘county lines’ chains of drug distribution, which sees hard drugs transported out of cities to rural areas and coastal communities.

Rudd will lead a new Serious Violence Taskforce comprising the voluntary sector, local government, police and other relevant sectors.

The home secretary said: “A crucial part of our approach will be focusing on and investing more in prevention and early intervention.

“We need to engage with our young people early and to provide the incentives and credible alternatives that will prevent them from being drawn into crime in the first place.

“This in my view is the best long-term solution, because what better way to stop knife crime than by stopping young people from picking up knives in the first place?”

According to the Home Office, between 2014-15 and 2016-17 the proportion of murders where either the victim or suspect were known to be involved in using or dealing illicit drugs increased from 50% to 57%.

Crack cocaine markets had strong links to serious violence and use was rising in England and Wales, it said.

Simon Blackburn, chair of the Local Government Association’s safer and stronger communities board, said councils, the police and health service had proven they could partner effectively on early intervention work to prevent young people becoming involved in crime.

But Blackburn said councils were still waiting to receive their youth justice grant allocations for 2018-19.

Funding for this work had halved to £72m between 2010 and 2017, he added.

“Councils are increasingly having to divert funding away from preventative work into services to protect children who are at immediate risk of harm,” Blackburn said.

“Only with the right funding and powers can councils continue to make a difference to people’s lives, by supporting families and young people, and helping to tackle serious violent crime in our local communities.”

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