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Violent Crime

Volume 648: debated on Monday 29 October 2018

We will be launching a £200 million youth endowment fund to intervene with children at risk of serious violence; we will be consulting on a new duty to support the multi-agency approach to tackling violence; and we will be undertaking a review of drug misuse.

The recent murder of a 23-year-old man in my constituency has once again brought violent crime to the forefront of concerns in my community. My constituents understand that whether in Labour-led cities such as London or in Tory shires, cuts to police numbers are having a serious impact, which is leading to increases in violent crime across the country. When will the Home Secretary accept that and put the money back into the police that our communities need?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise this. He will know that the Government have a cross-government serious violence strategy, but we do need to do more. That was why I recently announced these further steps, especially the new £200 million fund, which will help prevent violence.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that we need to remain committed to steering young and often vulnerable people away from crime? What is the Department doing to strike a balance between prevention and robust law enforcement?

My right hon. Friend is right to raise this. We have this new £200 million fund announced earlier this month, and we also have an early intervention youth fund of £22 million.

The Home Secretary might not want to take any lessons from Labour on policing, but in March Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary warned that

“the lives of vulnerable people could be at risk”

if cuts continue. In May, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said she was “certain” that the Government’s cuts have contributed to violent crime. In September, the National Audit Office warned that the Home Office

“does not know if the police system is financially sustainable.”

Last week, the Select Committee on Home Affairs declared that the police could become “irrelevant” without serious investment in today’s Budget. Every one of those warnings has been ignored by the Government. Can the Home Secretary tell us why he thinks they are all wrong and he is right?

Of course the police need to have the right mix of resources as well as other factors, which is why we have increased police funding this year by more than £460 million. But the hon. Lady also knows this is not all about resources. For example, the changes in drug markets are playing a big role, which is why I hope she would welcome the review that I have recently announced.