Knife crime: Theresa May denies reduced police numbers fuelling rise in deadly attacks
Written by News on 04/03/2019
Theresa May has rejected claims that falling numbers of police officers following funding cuts are fuelling a rise in knife crime.
Speaking during a visit to Salisbury on the anniversary of the novichok attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the prime minister said: “If you look at the figures, you’ll see that there’s no correlation between certain crimes and police numbers.
“What matters is that police are responding to these criminal acts when they take place, that people are brought to justice but what also matters is as a government we look at the issues that underpin this use of knives and that we act on those.
“That’s a cross-government approach, it’s not just about the police, it’s about the whole of government and it’s the whole of government that is responding.”
Met Police deputy assistant commissioner Graham McNulty said the force was responding to the rise in knife crime by allocating more resources.
“In advance of the weekend just passed, we had arranged for more officers from our violent crime task force to be on duty and we have extended their shifts to increase visibility across London,” he said.
That increased presence has allowed officers to carry out “more than 2,500 stop-and-searches in the last three days alone”
Asked about the force’s stretched resources, he said he could not “magic officers out of thin air” and added he was “lucky that we’ve got officers that are professional and committed and want to make a difference at the moment”.
Mrs May’s defence of her government’s record follows an impassioned plea by the home secretary for an end to the “senseless violence”.
Sajid Javid will chair a second chief constables’ round table on Wednesday, which is aimed at sharing experience and policing strategies for tackling violent crime.
Mr Javid said: “Young people are being murdered across the country and it can’t go on.
“It is vital that we unite to stop this senseless violence.”
Ms Chesney was the 18th homicide in the capital in 2019 – a total that now stands at 20.
Police said she had been playing music with five of her friends in an east London park before she was stabbed in the back.
Her family branded her murder as a “totally random and unprovoked attack.”
A day later, Mr Makki was stabbed to death in the quiet village of Hale Barns, near Altrincham.
Police are investigating and two boys who were arrested on suspicion of murder remain in custody.
Their deaths follow the deaths of three teenagers in two weeks in Birmingham, prompting West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson to call the issue a “national emergency”.
Meanwhile, a recent investigation led by Channel 4 Dispatches found the number of police recorded offenders under 18 committing homicides using a knife or sharp instrument rose by 77% from 26 to 46 from 2016 to 2018.
It also found that during this period the number of police recorded offenders aged under 18 committing rape and sexual assault with a knife rose from 24 to 33, while robbery with a knife increased from 656 to 999.
There was also a 93% rise in the number of children aged 16 and under being treated for stab wounds in England.
It was said that 76 people were reportedly stabbed to death in the capital out of 306 across the UK as a whole last year, including 23 children.