Government draws up knife crime prevention strategy

1 Apr 19

Local authorities and teachers will form part of a ‘multi-agency’ approach to tackle knife crime, the Home Office has said.

A consultation on a ‘multi-agency, public health’ strategy to prevent knife crime by early intervention was launched today. 

The announcement comes as prime minister Theresa May today started a week-long summit to tackle knife crime.

May said: “To bring about lasting change and protect young people from the tragic violence we have seen on our streets, we need to work across society to intervene early and stop them for being drawn into crime.

“Strong law enforcement plays an important role, and the police will continue to have our support on the front line, but we all need to look at what we can do in our communities, and in every part of the system, to safeguard young people.”

The consultation said the new approach seeks to create better collaboration between all sectors that come into contact with young people, including professionals in local government, public health, social care, law enforcement, health and education.

A teaching union has criticised the plan suggesting that cuts to youth services have impacted on knife crime levels.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Neither blame for or the solution to violent crime can be laid at the door of schools or front-line hospital staff.

“The home secretary should accept the impact the decimation of youth services has had, leaving few safe places for children to go outside of school hours or during the holidays.”

CIPFA analysis recently revealed that council spending on youth services has fallen by 18% over the last four years.

Home secretary Sajid Javid said: “Violent crime is like a disease rotting our society and it’s essential that all public bodies work together to treat the root causes.

“The public health, multi-agency approach has a proven track record and I’m confident that making it a legal duty will help stop this senseless violence and create long-term change.”

Similar ‘multi-agency’ approaches have been used in Scotland and Wales in recent years, the government said.  

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