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Tue, 29 September 2020

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Labour slams ‘decade-long failure’ on knife crime as new analysis reveals sevenfold rise in some areas

Labour slams ‘decade-long failure’ on knife crime as new analysis reveals sevenfold rise in some areas

The stats revealed a rise in every police force in England and Wales (PA)

2 min read

Labour have accused the Conservatives of a “decade-long failure to tackle knife crime” after fresh analysis showed a rise in offences in every police force across England and Wales.

The opposition is now calling on the Government to “explain how it will fix the national knife crime crisis” which it claims has “blighted communities”.

But the Tories said Labour were trying to "politicise what is a complex and difficult problem".

Crime statistics released in July show the number of knife-related offences have doubled in a third of forces since 2010, according to analysis by Labour.

Surrey saw the largest increase over the past 10 years at 589%, followed by Sussex at 259% and Norfolk at 183%.

And knife possession offences have almost doubled in the same period, from 10,500 in 2010/11 to 21,100 in 2019/20.

Labour’s shadow minister for policing, Sarah Jones, said: “Knife crime has risen as a result of Tory cuts to the police and preventative services. 

“The Government have spent years announcing summits, strategies, and task forces - but they have failed to act, with knife crime continuing to rise across the country on their watch. 

“More warm words from ministers will not help communities across the country that are blighted by knife crime.

“This Conservative Government needs to explain how it will fix the national knife crime crisis that was born on their watch.”

But responding to the claims, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “As deputy mayor for policing in London I successfully fought the last spike in knife crime which grew under Ken Livingstone as Mayor and a Labour government, so attempts to politicise what is a complex and difficult problem seem cheap and unpleasant to me.

"It would be more helpful if Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party was consistent in their approach to crime and supported what we, and our violence reduction units are doing to confront this challenge.

"Instead Labour’s opposition to stop and search would deprive the police of a vital tool in their arsenal against knife crime and despite calling for more to be done, Labour have voted against increased police funding."

He added that the Conservatives were undertaking "urgent action" to tackle knife crime, including their election pledges to hire 20,000 new police officers, tackle county lines crime and extend sentences for violent criminals. 

Earlier this year, the Government also pledged £1.1bn of additional police funding, which included £150m to fight organised crime and online child abuse, and £39m to tackle violent crime.

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