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Knife Crime

Volume 674: debated on Monday 23 March 2020

Knife crime is a scourge on our society that leaves a trail of grief, anger and despair across entire communities, costing lives and leaving people afraid. That is why the Home Secretary has increased police funding by more than £1 billion this year, is giving the police more powers to stop and search known offenders, has started recruiting 20,000 more police officers, and is ensuring that those who carry a knife are locked up for longer. We will do everything in our power to end these shocking acts of violence and this senseless loss of life.

Aylesbury young offenders institution in my constituency has a large number of young men aged between 18 and 21 who have been convicted of very serious offences, many of them involving knives, yet many young teenagers still believe—wrongly—that they need to carry a knife for their protection. What message does my hon. Friend have for them?

My hon. Friend is quite right to raise this appalling issue which, notwithstanding the current crisis, has dogged this country. As somebody who, in my role at City Hall in London 10 years ago, had to fight a similar upsurge in knife crime, I know he is right that we need to send the right message to young people. It is statistically true that someone is much more likely to be stabbed or injured if they are carrying a knife than if they are not. That is a basic truth that we need to communicate to young people.

What plans does my hon. Friend have to invest even more in youth facilities based in local communities like the city of Wolverhampton, given the strong link between youth knife crime and a lack of youth services?

My hon. Friend is quite right to point out that alongside police enforcement, we need to do longer-term intervention work with young people of all ages to turn them away from a life of violence and crime. He will be pleased to know that the Government are making significant investments, not least through the youth investment fund, to ensure that that is the case. We want to make sure that all young people across the country have access to good, rigorous, disciplined, socialised activities that teach them the way of truth and light.