Explosion In Violent Crime Is "National Emergency" Committee Of MPs Report

31 July 2019, 08:03

A new report into violent crime has been published by the Home Affairs Select Committee
A new report into violent crime has been published by the Home Affairs Select Committee. Picture: PA

The Home Affairs Committee says young people have been failed by the government, the group of MPs have described serious youth violence as a "social emergency."

That's the damning verdict of MPs on the committee, who have spent much of the last year investigating youth violence.

The report suggests appointing - what it calls - an "accountable leader" in every local area to report directly to the Prime Minister.

They've called for the government to put a police officer into every school in areas with a high risk of violence.

LBC's Senior Reporter Matthew Thompson spoke to Caroline Shearer whose son Jay was stabbed to death in 2012. She told LBC she believes MPs care more about Brexit than violent crime.

Caroline said: "It's being buried by Brexit, the government are so consumed by Brexit. Our kids, on our streets are dying."

LBC's Matthew Thompson said: "One of the key criticisms is that there aren't any measurable targets and goals set.

"So there is no way of assessing whether the government response has been successful, or what the various groups and task forces should actually be aiming for."

Crucially, the report said that the government's rhetoric on the so called "public health approach" to the crisis is not matched by action.

They say that the crisis is caused by a "perfect storm" of cuts to youth services and police funding, and a rising number of school exclusions.

The Chair of the Home Affairs Committee Yvette Cooper said: “Teenagers are dying on our streets, and yet our inquiry has found that the Government’s response to the rise in serious youth violence is completely inadequate. They just haven’t risen to the scale of the problem.

“The rhetoric about a public health approach is right, but too often that’s all it is – rhetoric. There are no clear targets or milestones, and no mechanisms to drive progress. To publish a weak strategy and convene a few roundtable discussions just isn’t enough when faced with youth violence on this scale. The Home Office has shamefully taken a hands-off approach to this crisis, but it is a national emergency and must be treated like one. They need to get a grip."

Responding to the report, a Home Office spokesperson said that there is a planned increase to police funding of more than £1 billion this year, as well as making it easier for officers to use stop and search in areas blighted by violent crime.

The Home Office said: “The Committee’s assessment fails to recognise the full range of urgent action the Government is taking to keep our communities safe – including extra police powers and resources.

“The Prime Minister and Home Secretary last week announced the recruitment of 20,000 more officers and a new national policing board, which will meet for the first time today (Wed), to drive the response to critical issues including serious violence."