10. What steps she is taking to reduce violent crime. (902174)
The coalition Government is taking decisive action to reduce violence, including sexual violence against women, children and vulnerable people, and gang and youth violence. That includes preventing violence from happening in the first place, providing effective support to victims, and ensuring that perpetrators are arrested, charged and successfully prosecuted.
I thank the Minister for that answer. Alcohol-fuelled crime, which is often violent, costs £11 billion per year. Newcastle city council has introduced a late-night levy to bring in revenue to deal with some of those issues. However, that does not address the wider issue or the problem of people pre-loading on alcohol from supermarkets. The Government’s alcohol policy is clearly in tatters. Why did the Home Office suppress a report on minimum prices ahead of the Government’s U-turn on that issue?
I am not aware of any report that has been suppressed. If the hon. Lady wants to write to me with the details, I will look into it. I assure her that the Government is taking a firm line with the alcohol industry. It has a responsibility to society for its products and for their misuse. The cost to the taxpayer is £21 billion a year, which is shared between the costs of antisocial behaviour and the costs to the NHS. We have a strategy and we expect the industry to co-operate. We do not rule out taking further action if it does not co-operate.
In strongly welcoming the fall in violent crime, may I ask the Minister what can be done, over and above what is being done, about the particularly difficult and pernicious problem of knife crime?
I am happy to say that there has been a reduction in knife crime under this Government. That is shown not only by the crime figures, but by the NHS data, which show that about 14% fewer people were admitted to hospital due to assault with a sharp object, including knives, in the year to March 2013. Police recorded crime also showed that knife crime was down by 10%. We created a new offence in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 for those who carry a knife in a public place or a school and go on to threaten and cause an immediate risk of serious physical harm to another person.