London Vows Knife Crime Action after Tragic Weekend
07 March, 2019, 11:13 | Author: Emmett Rice
Home Secretary Sajid Javid will meet police chiefs on Tuesday as ministers attempt to counter accusations the public is losing faith in the ability of the authorities to "control our streets".
A string of fatal teen stabbings have sparked a heated debate over police officer numbers in England and Wales, which have dropped by more than 20,000 since 2009.
Downing Street said among those attending would be senior officers from seven of the forces most affected by violent crime - the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, South Wales, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.
The main opposition Labour Party said the surge in knife crime amounted to a "national emergency" and called on May to "tackle this crisis now".
She said the discussions with the Home Secretary had been "really constructive", adding: "We've agreed that by the end of the week we'll set out the scale of the investment required", she said.
Mrs May served as home secretary between 2010 and 2016 and oversaw a period where cuts were made to police forces.
"I agree that there is some link between violent crime on the streets, obviously, and police numbers".
"That's why I asked the year before last to get more money and to have more officers and was given a small amount".
Jodie, 17, was with friends near a children's playground on Harold Hill, east London, when she was approached by two males and knifed in the back in a seemingly motiveless attack.
The 17-year-old was stabbed at 9.25pm, and despite the efforts of cops and paramedics she was declared dead an hour later last Friday.
A 17-year-old boy - who can not be named for legal reasons - has been charged with the murder of Yousef, Greater Manchester Police said. "When used effectively, stop-and-search is a vital tool and I am working with the police to reduce bureaucracy and ensure they can use it in the most efficient way".
Writing in the Daily Telegraph ahead of the summit, Mr Javid said he would be open to suggestions for improving the official response to what he described as "a disease, spreading through our communities, infecting our young people, taking and blighting lives".
Dr Tim Bateman, Reader in Youth Justice at the University of Bedfordshire, has said "getting tough on young people who carry knives is misguided and unlikely to address the problem".
Meanwhile, across the country, there has been a 12 per cent increase in police recorded offences involving a knife over the past year, to 39,332.
Two-thirds of police forces in England and Wales recently responded to a Freedom of Information request from Channel 4's Dispatches which showed that, in those force areas, the number of teenagers recorded as having killed with a knife had risen from 26 in 2016 to 46 a year ago.
But Donna Murray-Turner, who chairs the Croydon Safer Neighbourhood Board, does not believe more police officers will solve the issue.
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