The Prime Minister promised a summit, led by herself, on knife crime to find solutions to the epidemic that is sweeping the nation. Labour secured an Urgent Question on this subject as it has been some weeks since this announcement was made and we still have no more details.
I asked the Minister if she could elaborate on who would be attending the summit and if the details of its conclusions would be published.
I also wanted further details on the £100m of funding pledged in the Spring Statement for police overtime. For those who have seen my other videos from the Commons that was when the Chancellor of the Exchequer forgot about Wales completely in his statement. I wanted to know which police forces would get this money and how much they would get. Our police need a long-term funding settlement and a small increase in overtime funding will not cover it, but any money is welcomed at the moment.
The rise in violent crime, and knife crime, across the UK is deeply worrying. Young people are dying on our streets due to gang violence and the increased number of people feeling they must carry an offensive weapon.
When we saw a rise in knife crime in 2009 I took immediate action as the Counter-Terrorism and Police Minister. We appointed the Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police to head up a cross-departmental taskforce. This focused minds and ensured that we had a laser focused strategy.
The Secretary of State spent most of today saying that it was everyone’s responsibility to take action, whilst simultaneously ensuring that the blame for this did not rest at his, and his government’s feet. Let’s be clear, a reduction of over 20,000 police officers since 2010, painful cuts to local councils and chronic under-funding of education has laid the foundations for this crisis.
Action needs to be taken now that empowers our police to take tough action on those harming our communities and gives local authorities the resources they need to prevent gang violence from even beginning.