Minister backs plans to evict families of violent criminals
Gang leaders and criminals could have council houses removed from their families in a plan to tackle violent crime which has been backed by a minister.
Victoria Atkins has become the first member of the Government to support the idea, currently being tested in north London.
It is hoped the move could deter hardened criminals as concerns mount about soaring knife crime in London with almost 1,300 stabbings since the start of the year.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Ms Atkins said the Government had "changed the law to enable it to happen".
She said: "In the most serous cases with these people who are exploiting young people, making the lives of local residents a misery, putting fear into people's hearts when they're picking children up from the school gates, I think absolutely they should understand the consequences of their criminal behaviour."
Ms Atkins said the rising rates in knife crime was "very, very worrying" and suggested parents should be checking kitchen drawers to ensure their children were not taking household knives to school.
"There are themes that emerge [that contribute to gang violence], school exclusion, dealing with domestic violence at home,” she said.
"If we can stop the violence at home it means means those children are not desensitized to violence in a way they are if they see it happening."
The north London pilot scheme was introduced after the 2011 riots and the public outcry that followed. It has been backed by Supt Nick Davies, commander of London central north, but he stressed people would only be evicted in the worst cases.
Ms Atkins said: "We still maintain the focus on law enforcement because we have to ensure if someone commits a violent crime against another person they should be brought to justice but we are also mindful that more and more young people are being dragged into this so we want to try and intervene at an earlier stage and prevent them from getting into these criminal gangs an criminality in the first place."