Thank you to everyone who has written to me recently about knife crime. I know how worrying knife crime can be, particularly for parents of young boys, and constituents are absolutely right that there is so much more we need to be doing to reverse the worrying trend of increasing youth violence.
I’ve been a Member of Parliament for eighteen years, but it never gets easier to hear of the tragic death of a young person in our community, to attend a memorial service for someone who hadn’t even left school, or to meet with a family torn apart by grief and pain. The experiences of the people I have met over the years are experiences nobody should ever have to go through, which is why we must leave no stone unturned in our mission to end the violence on our streets.
Data shows that the number of people killed with a knife in England and Wales in 2021/22 was the highest on record for 76 years, and in the year ending September 2022, there were over 46,000 recorded offences involving a blade. It’s deeply troubling the following thirteen years of cuts to frontline policing and youth services under the Conservatives, we’ve squandered the progress that had been made tackling knife crime, with devastating consequences.
As Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, I’m closely involved in Labour’s work repairing our broken justice system, and I’m proud that Keir Starmer has announced that making Britain’s streets safe again is one of Labour’s five missions for government. As part of that mission, we’re pledging to halve incidents of knife crime within a decade, by:
- Restoring neighbourhood policing by recruiting 13,000 new neighbourhood police and police community support officers (PCSOs).
- Preventing young people being drawn into gangs, by putting access to mental health support workers into every school, and by placing youth workers in A&E departments and custody suites to reach vulnerable young people.
- Tackling online sites promoting and selling machetes and dangerous knives.
- Cracking down on anti-social behaviour by introducing new Respect Orders for repeat offenders.
- Introducing guaranteed town centre police patrolling and introducing data-driven hotspot policing targeted at common drug dealing sites, one of the most effective ways of preventing crime.
You can read the full briefing on Labour’s pledge to Make Britain’s Streets Safe by clicking here.
It will be difficult to reverse the damage done by the last thirteen years of Conservative government, but I know that as a former Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer has the expertise and passion needed to stand up for victims, bring criminals to justice, and prevent young people falling into a life of violence and crime.
Please know that I will always stand up for keeping our streets and communities safe.