Baroness Manzoor: We must break this deadly cycle of violence
It’s vital a long term and sustainable plan is put in place to deal with the root causes of serious violence – and set young people on a path free from crime, writes Baroness Manzoor
Too many young people have lost their lives in needless violence. We are clear that these crimes are unacceptable, that there is no place in society for them and that anyone committing these acts of violence must feel the full force of the law.
The government is determined to do everything it can to break the deadly cycle of violence. In April they announced an ambitious Serious Violence Strategy which marks a step change in the approach to this issue and strikes a new balance between prevention and rigorous law enforcement.
Dealing with a topic as complex as serious violence requires a multi-agency response. The strategy will bring together a range of governmental departments and sectors to focus on intervening early and guiding young people away from a life of crime.
The strategy includes a thorough review into the trends and drivers behind serious violence. The analysis makes clear that a range of factors are in play, but changes to the drugs market have been a major factor in the rise in knife crime, gun crime and homicide.
The growth of County Lines – the practice of using vulnerable young people to traffic drugs from major cities to smaller towns and rural areas – has introduced more violence and exploitation into an already lethal environment. We also know that the rapid emergence of social media in the last decade has allowed gangs to glamorise drug selling life and taunt rivals.
Tackling this complex issue demands a comprehensive response. It’s essential that a long term and sustainable plan is put in place that will deal with the root causes of serious violence and set young people on a path free from crime and violence.
In order to achieve this the Serious Violence Strategy includes over 60 commitments and £40million of funding, including a new £11million Early Intervention Youth Fund that will help provide young people with the skills and resilience to live violence free lives and a £3.6million National County Lines Co-ordination Centre will significantly strengthen our response to this violent and exploitative form of crime.
Alongside these preventative measures the government will also ensure the strongest possible law enforcement response is in place, including ensuring that the law keeps pace with the changing nature of serious violence.
Dealing with an issue as pressing as serious violence requires all of us in the House to work together. I urge every member to rally behind the Serious Violence Strategy and use their experience and expertise to make it a success.
Let’s make these terrible tragedies a thing of the past and give our country’s young people the skills and resilience to live happy and productive lives.
Baroness Manzoor is a Conservative peer and government in whip