Figures on knife crime are very concerning

The Office for National Statistics recently announced that knife crime has risen by 22% since 2017 in England and Wales. These figures are incredibly worrying and are having a devastating effect on our communities.

There are a number of contributing factors to these figures. A lack of projects aimed at the youth. A period of austerity that has deprived disadvantaged people of their dignity and pushed them towards breaking point and in some cases towards crime. A class system that sees many young people losing hope in their future.

However a significant factor is the lack of community policing due to police budgets cuts.  Theresa May, firstly as Home Secretary and now as Prime Minister, has overseen unprecedented cuts to police budgets.

As Home secretary in 2010, she agreed to an 18% cut to police budgets and the number of police officers in England and Wales has been falling year on year ever since.

Mrs May recently announced an extra £450m in funding to local police forces in 2018/19. This has since been rebuked as in reality there has in fact been a “flat cash” settlement for police forces in England and Wales. This actually amounted to a real terms cut in direct Whitehall grants to the police.

Police officers perform a vital and often profoundly challenging job helping to keep our streets and communities safe and it is very concerning about the speed and scale of the Government’s cuts to the police budget.

It really should not come as a surprise that there has been a correlation between cuts to police budgets and the rise of violent crimes, like knife crime.

As a society we need to address this issue. The Government needs to think of innovative long term solutions to tackling knife crime. Its policy on knife crime needs to break down the obstacles that are holding a lot of disadvantaged people back.

But one of the easiest things they could do in the short term is to stop cutting police budgets. The Government needs to appropriately fund front line police services so they can protect our communities effectively from violent crime.