Statement from Patrick Green, CEO of The Ben Kinsella Trust, following the release of today's knife crime figures from the ONS
Today’s ONS crime figures make for familiar and depressing reading. In the 12 months to March 2020, knife crime rose in England and Wales by 6%, with London seeing a larger increase of 7%. We have now seen knife crime rise by 78% from 2015, with offence numbers increasing from 26,974 to 46,265 in 5 years.
These offences change people’s lives. They result in lives being lost, lives ruined, families left devastated, communities broken.
The figures make even more frustrating reading when you know that the remedies to solving knife crime already exist. This week’s cross-party Youth Violence Commission report came up with a series of sensible recommendations to tackle the problem. This report will now sit alongside several other recent reports all arriving at a similar conclusion; that we must adopt a public health approach in order to tackle knife crime.
It is fair to say that there has been some progress in recent years. The Government’s Serious Violence strategy and the subsequent roll out of Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) all show that some of the lessons learned from Scotland’s public health approach are being acted upon south of the border. But there remains a critical piece missing from the jigsaw, and that is sustainable funding. Funding for the Violence Reduction Units in England and Wales remains short term. This means the VRUs are themselves funding services in the same manner.
The problem with this short term model is this: the underlying social issues that create knife crime can take a generation to eradicate. Short term funding will produce at best short-term unsustainable results. Knife crime has continued to rise for 5 years, despite repeated announcements that it would be tackled and stopped. Surely now is the time to commit to funding the solutions which are known to work, such as the VRUs, for a minimum of 5 years.
Your donation will help us to educate young people about the dangers of knife crime and help us to achieve our vision: that no family or community should suffer the loss of a life to knife crime