What is the Government doing to tackle violent crime?
- Yesterday the Offensive Weapons Act received Royal Assent, bringing in tough new measures that strengthen law enforcement’s response to violent crime.
- The Act will make it illegal to possess dangerous weapons in private, including knuckledusters, zombie knives and death star knives, and makes it a criminal offence to dispatch bladed products sold online without verifying the buyer is over 18.
- The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, is also providing additional support to the police through Knife Crime Prevention Orders. These orders will act as a deterrent to those vulnerable to becoming involved in knife crime and will enable the courts to place restrictions on individuals to help the police manage those at risk in the community.
- The Offensive Weapons Act will also create a new offence of possessing acid or corrosive substances in a public place without good reason and prevent the sale, both in-store and online, to persons under 18 of those products that contain acid or other harmful corrosive substances.
- The Serious Violence Taskforce, chaired by the Home Secretary, meets regularly to drive delivery of the Serious Violence Strategy. It brings together Ministers, MPs, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the London Mayor, senior police leaders and public sector and voluntary sector chief executives.
- At a Taskforce meeting in April, the Home Secretary confirmed that the new £1.38 million government-funded social media hub will be fully operational at the end of May. A 17-strong team of police staff and officers will disrupt and remove overt and covert gang-related online content.
- On 1 April, the Prime Minister hosted the Serious Youth Violence Summit in Downing Street, bringing together attendees from a diverse range of backgrounds including law enforcement, health, the voluntary sector and education, and young people with experience living in communities impacted by serious violence.
- Ahead of the summit the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, launched a consultation on a new legal duty to ensure public bodies, including hospitals, raise concerns about children at risk of becoming involved in knife crime.
- The Government also announced it is empowering at least 3,000 more officers to authorise enhanced stop and search powers, which allow the police to search anyone in a designated area without needing reasonable grounds of suspicion if serious violence in anticipated.
- We recognise the demands facing the police and this year the Government has increased funding by more than £1 billion, including council tax and new serious violence funding. As a result, police and crime commissioners have set out plans to recruit around 3,000 more officers.
- The funding includes an additional £100 million to tackle serious violence. This is helping worst affected forces increase their operational activities and enabling the creation of new multi-agency Violence Reduction Units.
- Alongside support for the police, the Home Office continues to focus on early intervention as a key to reducing serious violence. It has appointed the charitable foundation Impetus to manage its £200 million Youth Endowment Fund, to help prevent young people being drawn into a life of crime and violence.
- The Serious Violence Strategy, published last April, sets out an ambitious programme of work with 61 commitments for further action. This includes the £22 million Early Intervention Youth Fund, through which we have already provided £17.7 million funding for 29 projects endorsed by Police and Crime Commissioners.
- A £3.6 million National Police Chiefs Council /National Crime Agency led National County Lines Coordination Centre was launched on 21 September 2018. Since then it has overseen operations leading to more than 1,100 arrests and the protection of 1,300 individuals.
- In March, the Home Secretary chaired the second Chief Constables' roundtable, aimed at sharing experience and policing strategies for tackling violent crime. The group represents police forces from across the country, particularly areas most impacted by knife crime.
- Meanwhile a major media campaign, #knifefree, targets teenagers to set out the risks of carrying a knife based on real-life stories.
- We have published our draft Domestic Abuse Bill and have pledged £100 million in dedicated funding until 2020 to tackle violence against women and girls.
- Meanwhile, an independent review of drug misuse, led by Professor Dame Carol Black, will seek to ensure that law enforcement agencies and policy are targeting and preventing the drug-related causes of violent crime effectively.