The Government work to steer young people away from crime through tough enforcement and dedicated programmes. We have supported the police with investment of over £170 million in the areas worst affected by violence, and on stop-and-search powers. A further £170 million will support violence reduction units, which are fundamental in tackling the root causes of violence.
Knife crime and antisocial behaviour is, sadly, all too prevalent in Southend, as the weekend’s events showed. Our excellent local police want state-of-the-art, portable electronic knife polls, which are cheaper and more effective than knife arch systems. Does the Secretary of State agree that having those in place by the holiday period must be a priority for Southend police?
May I congratulate my hon. Friend on the assiduous way in which she has made representations to me and the Home Office directly on this issue? She has a great relationship with Essex police, which is a very robust police force on this issue. She highlighted a practical solution in terms of how knife crime can be and is being addressed through knife polls, and I have seen in her constituency some of the exceptional work taking place on that.
The National Crime Agency is responsible for tackling the organised crime gangs who drive up so much of the knife crime, violence and drug abuse that we see on our streets. Why, then, has the Home Secretary asked it to draw up plans for 20% cuts?
I thank the hon. Lady for her question. There are no plans to cut National Crime Agency funding. Its budget has increased every year since 2019-20 and, as part of the 2021 spending review, we secured a settlement over the period of more than £810 million. For the benefit of the Labour party, there are no plans to cut NCA funding.