Boris Johnson has just announced that “We will empower police to tackle scourge of violent knife crime”.
Knife crime is blighting some of our communities – having a devastating impact on young people. Hospital admissions for assault by a sharp object were up by 15 per cent in 2017-18 – the latest date for which records are available – in comparison to the previous year. The year 2017-18 was the year with the lowest number of stop and searches. Fortunately, in 2018-19 the police carried out 55 per cent more stop and searches to look for weapons. This has had a positive effect with a 22 per cent increase in arrests for possession of weapons.
A Boris Johnson majority government would take a tough new approach to tackling knife crime and serious violence. Under the new plans announced this week:
* Anyone caught unlawfully with a knife will be immediately arrested, charged within 24 hours and in court within a week – three times faster than the current average.
* Police will be empowered to target known knife carriers with a new court order, making it easier for officers to stop and search those known in the past to have carried weapons.
* Violence reduction units - multi-agency teams made up of the police, social services and other agencies – will be boosted by £35 million next year to champion preventative work and stop violence from happening in the first place.
The plans build on the success of increased use of stop and search in the past year, which has led to a 22 per cent increase in arrests for possession of weapons.
Commenting on the new announcements, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “A majority Conservative government would come down hard on the scourge of knife crime. We have committed to putting an extra 20,000 police officers on our streets, but they need to have the powers to act decisively and effectively to prevent crime and see that offenders face justice. That’s why today we are announcing greater freedoms for the police to use stop and search on individuals who are known to have carried knives in the past. We are also speeding up prosecutions to make sure the threat of being caught is always an effective deterrent.
“Just as with our plans to improve schools and hospitals, we can only do any of this if we end the gridlock in parliament with a Conservative majority government. We had to call this election to end that deadlock and now the choice is simple. Either we can have more confusion and delay with Jeremy Corbyn, who wants to call two more chaotic referendums next year, or we have a Conservative government who will get Brexit done and focus on the people’s priorities like tackling violent crime, improving our NHS and investing in schools across the country.”
Photo : By Tim Lively - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6266854