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Theresa May and Sajid Javid ask schools and hospitals to spot knife crime warning signs

2 min read

Schools and hospitals could be asked to spot young people at risk of knife crime under plans unveiled by Theresa May and Sajid Javid to tackle the "disease" of violent offences.

Amid spiralling violent crime figures, a new 'public health duty' will ask organisations to report warning signs that a young person could be at risk.

That could include turning up at accident and emergency units with suspicious injuries or displaying difficult behaviour at school.

The plans are being unveiled as the Prime Minister hosts an all-day knife crime summit .in 10 Downing Street.

The latest official figures show that there were 42,957 knife offences recorded in England and Wales 2017/18 - a 31% rise on the previous year.

The number of knife-related homicides also climbed to 285 in 2017-18 - the highest recorded figure since 1946.

Unveiling a new consultation on the plan, Mrs May said public bodies needed to "intervene early" to stop young people from being "drawn into crime".

The Prime Minister said: "Strong law enforcement plays an important role, and the police will continue to have our support on the front line, but we all need to look at what we can do in our communities, and in every part of the system, to safeguard young people."

Home Secretary Mr Javid - who last month extracted more money from the Treasury to try and combat knife crime - said: "Violent crime is like a disease rotting our society and it’s essential that all public bodies work together to treat the root causes."

The move, which mirrors the Home Office's controversial anti-terror 'Prevent' strategy, comes after Mrs May unveiled plans to make it easier for police forces to carry out stop-and-search checks on people they suspect to be carrying a knife.

The Prime Minister said at least 3,000 more officers will be able to use “enhanced stop and search powers” under the latest overhaul.

Ministers will also chair a serious violence summit in Downing Street on Monday, bringing together key figures from the police, health, education, council and charities sectors to try and tackle the problem.

But Labour has accused the Government of failing to give police forces enough money to combat violent crime, last month blasting an additional £100m pot handed over by the Treasury as not enough.

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