London boroughs have backed a call urging the new prime minister to tackle knife crime and said the Government needs to ensure councils have ‘adequate resources’ for frontline services.
Young people directly affected by knife crime visited 10 Downing Street today to call on the Government to tackle the underlying causes of violent crime in communities.
They delivered a letter to the prime minister urging Mr Johnson to take action on the lack of housing, youth services and employment opportunities – all factors they say contribute to violent crime.
The letter, which was signed by 100 youths, was delivered alongside a 12-point manifesto outlining actions young people believe would make Britain’s streets safer, such as the introduction of more community police officers.
This manifesto has been included in a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Knife Crime entitled, ‘There is No Protection on the Streets, None’.
‘Our new prime minister must take responsibility for solving the epidemic of serious violence facing our country. He needs to be clear this will be both a national and personal priority,’ said APPG chair and Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones.
‘The response to this emergency must be led from the very top, and the APPG’s new report shows that the voice of young people must be at the forefront.
‘Boris Johnson has suggested that knife crime can be solved simply by increasing stop and search, but the solutions proposed by young people today show he needs to think much bigger. I hope he listens and agrees to meet them in person.’
The young people involved have also requested an urgent meeting with the new PM to talk through the issue.
The chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardo’s, Javed Khan, said: ‘Caught up in the knife crime epidemic, these young people are demanding action so their lives are no longer blighted by violence.
‘They are right to say that there is not one single solution to stopping the stabbings on our streets. As leaders in Government, parliament and charities, we must come together to help them by addressing the poverty of hope felt by many children and young people across the country, who see little or no chance of a positive future.
‘This starts with the new PM listening to their concerns and agreeing to meet them. They are the people most affected by the violence and their voices need to be heard.’
Responding to the publication of the APPG’s report, the group London Councils called for more Government funding.
‘The capital faces an immense challenge in reducing knife crime and in ensuring all young Londoners feel safe,’ said Cllr Jas Athwal, London Councils’ executive member for crime & public protection.
‘This is a key priority for London boroughs. Alongside the police and other partners, we support a public health approach towards addressing this violence. As this report makes clear, many of our services – such as social care, safeguarding, and youth services – have a crucial contribution to make.
‘Boroughs are determined to take a proactive role, but we can’t escape the fact that London local authorities have endured a 63% loss of core Government funding since 2010. The Government needs to ensure councils have adequate resources for the frontline services that make such a difference in young people’s lives.
‘Investing in local communities is integral to tackling knife crime and keeping young Londoners safe.’