Posted: Friday 7th December 2018
Last week I joined the Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd MP for a Home Office serious violence event in Bristol. The Home Office outlined their strategy to organisations across Bristol and the surrounding areas. It was also the opportunity for me to speak to local partners about how important an issue this is. The issues we are experiencing in Bristol and the surrounding areas are no way on the scale of London however knife crime like in many part of the country is increasing. Between 2016/17 and 2017/18 knife crimes increased by more than 50%. During the past 12 months there has been 7,520 knife related crimes in our area alone.
I believe we must continue to dismantle the recruitment of vulnerable young people into ‘county lines’ drug gangs. It’s clear that this leads to an increase in knife-crime and serious violence, including stabbings and gang-related disorder which must be tackled and this will be the focus of any new money raised from the policing part of the council tax next year. However enforcement alone is not the answer. I was delighted to see Barnardo’s in Bristol, with the help of my office, receive nearly £500,000 towards diverting children and young people away from violent crime. As part of the new service, engagement workers will work directly with children and young people to offer conflict resolutions, mediation, tailored interventions and resilience building for families.
Knife crime devastates families and harms communities and sadly, too many young people believe that carrying a knife will help protect them from danger. This is simply not true. If you carry a knife, you are far more likely to end up being injured, or worse still, losing your life. We all need to work together to help make our communities safer. If you’re concerned about someone you know perhaps a friend, relative or colleague you can pass on that information via the charity Crimestoppers completely anonymously. In over 30 years of Crimestoppers have always kept their promise to protect everyone’s identity. You can call free 0800 555 111 or go online crimestoppers-uk.org. They also have dedicated young people’s website called Fearless.org which is empowering young people to speak up about knife crime.
We all have a responsibility to help reduce serious violent on our streets. The centre for justice innovation states reducing violence is the responsibility of everyone. For those in power, those in Government and in the criminal justice service but also for all of us in our schools, hospitals, arts, on our streets and in our homes.
This week I had hoped to bring you news about the money policing would receive from the Government next year. However with all of the debate over Brexit the announcement has been delayed until next week. There are a lot of rumours circulating on whether policing will favour from a slightly improved position to tackle all the current issues such as serious violence and serious and organised crime. However we will have cross our fingers until the announcement.