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Violent Crime

Volume 602: debated on Monday 16 November 2015

According to the crime survey for England and Wales, violent crime is 27% lower than in June 2010. We are taking effective action, including our ongoing action to tackle gang and youth violence, and our work to end violence against women and girls.

The Minister will be aware that the violence reduction unit in Scotland has taken an innovative approach to tackling violence by working with dentists, hairdressers, vets and others to identify domestic abuse. It has also successfully carried out work among gangs on promoting positive alternatives. What lessons can her Department learn from the success of Scotland’s violence reduction unit in its first 10 years of existence to reduce the level of crime?

We of course look at what is happening across the whole United Kingdom and work with the devolved authorities and others to ensure that we are using the very best practice.

The weekend before last, three young men were murdered in three separate incidents in north-west London alone, demonstrating that gang and serious youth violence remains a genuinely serious problem on the streets of London, as it is elsewhere. Next spring, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime funding for the gangs project is due to end. Will the Minister speak with the Mayor of London to ensure that that necessary funding to tackle the threat of gangs continues after next May?

It is clearly important that we tackle gang violence and look at the exploitation within gang culture, which sees very vulnerable young people exploited and forced into gangs. I will of course be working with all to ensure that there is appropriate support for combating that.

The British crime survey shows an 87% rise in the reporting of rapes between October 2012 and March 2015. Sexual violence investigations need specialist expertise and supervision to ensure that cases are handled correctly and prosecutions are brought. What assurances can the Minister give that the proposed police cuts will not impact on the training and supervision of officers working on sexual violence cases?

The hon. Lady, who has significant experience and expertise in this area, will know that the increased recording of violence against women and girls is good news, because it means that more victims are prepared to come forward. I am very impressed by the work that I have seen police forces doing across the country to ensure that victims come forward and receive the right specialist and multi-agency support that they need.