Three out of four UK council chief executives and leaders do not have access to enough funding to tackle rising levels of violent youth crime, a survey has found.
This figure rises to 85% for chief executives and leaders in London and metropolitan boroughs, where a similar proportion have reported a recent increase in violent youth offending in their areas.
The survey published today by the NLGN think-tank found that anti-social behaviour, gang-linked violence and drug offences have risen most sharply over the last five years.
In London, gang-linked violence was the offence that respondents thought had risen more than any other, with half saying it had increased the most out of any crime since 2014.
Respondents blamed a lack of youth services as a key factor contributing to increased youth violence.
The survey comes amid an 80% growth in knife crime offences since March 2014 while lower-level crime in the form of anti-social behaviour has also risen steadily, with 38% experiencing it in their local area over the last year – up from 28% in 2012/13.
A report by the Home Affairs Committee last month said the Government’s serious violence strategy was ‘completely inadequate’ and undermined by cuts to local authority youth services.
NLGN said the Government’s latest measures, including a new unfunded public health duty and pledge of 20,000 extra police officers, ‘simply do not go far enough’.
Director of NLGN, Adam Lent, said: ‘Violent youth offending is at a crisis point, but preventative programmes that are required to stem violent crime are precisely the programmes councils have had to cut due to a decade of austerity.’
Writing for The MJ’s website, senior policy researcher at NLGN, Trinley Walker, said the results of the survey painted an ‘alarming picture’.
He said: ‘Councils are at the coal-face of this growing crisis and are well-placed to undertake the forms of preventative intervention necessary to steer vulnerable people away from trouble in the first place, but they are not being supported to fulfil this critical role.
'This lack of support is letting the most vulnerable young people in society down and impacting negatively on the wider community they live in.’