View from the House: We must all be responsible for stopping the surge in violent crime
PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 April 2018
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The headlines, day after day, spell out the appalling toll being taken by violent crime across our communities.
More than 50 people have been killed this year and the government appears to have washed its hands of the issue. Home secretary Amber Rudd claims a fall in police numbers is not to blame for a rise in violent crime. But even the government’s own research accepts police cuts have “likely contributed” to the increase in violent offences.
In two years to January 2018 the number of victims of serious youth violence in Brent showed a 34 per cent increase. A similar pattern can be seen with injuries to under-25s relating to knife crime. These rose from 64 in January 2016 to 93 in January 2018. Under this government we have seen 2,495 police officers and 3,261 police community support officers cut from the Met.
Knife crime must not be treated in isolation. You cannot protect communities at the same time as slashing local authority budgets. Government cuts to Brent Council have taken their toll on our youth and community services. Children’s services face a £2bn funding gap by 2020, our mental health services are in crisis and our schools are cash strapped.
Met commissioner Cressida Dick has criticised social media for fuelling gang violence. But she has also called for a new approach to fighting knife crime, one that links it with other issues such as poverty, mental health and discrimination.
I am more concerned than I have ever been for the safety of young people in Brent.
The government must not stand idly by. We are at a tipping point, and the whole community must work to keep our children safe.