We all recognise the importance of dealing with knife crime, given the terrible impact that it can have on people’s minds. Our work to tackle it is centred on working on four key strands: on police and enforcement; on retailers and responsible sales; on the legislative framework; and on early intervention.
I thank the Home Secretary for that reply. Does she agree that, one of the challenges here is that some of the most lethal knives are actually in people’s kitchens up and down the land, which makes them very difficult to regulate. On sentencing criminals, will she tell the House how many people have been convicted under the so-called Nick de Bois amendment of “two strikes and you’re out”?
I share my hon. Friend’s concerns. That was exactly the right amendment and we need to ensure that it is enforced. I have also taken up the matter further with Nick de Bois, a former Member here, to see how we can implement it. He also drew attention to the importance of our £500,000 community fund, which enables local organisations to work with the community on early intervention to stop people picking up knives in the first place. That is available now, and I urge Members on both sides of the House to consider inviting local community organisations to apply for the fund.
Today was the first evidence session for the Youth Violence Commission, and we looked specifically at the role of youth and community work. Does the Secretary of State agree that early intervention is important in tackling knife crime and what would she say to those calling for a statutory youth service that is fully funded?
I certainly agree that early intervention is critical. My conversations with chief constables and colleges led to that. We need to do more to ensure that young people realise the consequence of carrying knives, as well as the terrible impact it can have on them if they are seen to be carrying one. That is why we have introduced the community fund, for which I urge the hon. Lady and other hon. Members to consider applying.