Central Government cuts have ‘reversed decades of progress’ in tackling the root causes of violent offending, says the Mayor of London.
Sadiq Khan yesterday blasted the Conservative Government’s programme of austerity, arguing it has undermined the struggle against violent crime.
Reflecting on the fatal stabbings of four young men over New Years Eve, Mayor Khan highlighted the fact that over 2017 violent offences rose by 19% across England and Wales, and by just over 3% in the capital.
While the Met made 900 arrests and took 350 weapons off the streets during the last two months of 2017, they can’t tackle violent crime alone, the Mayor said.
He emphasised the importance of youth and mental health services and centres, and other frontline services, in preventing crime, and warned Government cuts had left these struggling.
In London, the shrinking of councils’ budgets have led to more than £22m of cuts to youth services since 2011. This has led to the closing of 30 youth centres, with at least 12,700 places for young people lost. Children’s services also face a funding gap of at least £2bn by 2020
The capital’s schools are facing £99m in real terms cuts in 2018-19 alone, the Mayor said, and mental health services remain ‘chronically underfunded’.
Mayor Khan also noted that even when offenders are caught, the crisis in the prisons and probation service means not enough is being done to stop them committing more offences.
Reoffending rates for 18 to 20 year old males in London is up from 34.8% in 2005-06 to 38.9% in 2015/16.
‘The Met will do everything in their power to tackle violent crime, which is rising across the UK, but this Government has forgotten that there are two parts to this equation,’ said Mayor Khan.
‘The police are being tough on crime, but the Government are being desperately weak on the causes of crime.
‘Getting back to being “tough on the causes of crime” will require a massive investment in the services that have been neglected for too long, tragically letting our young people down.’