New figures expose Government failure on knife crime, says Reading East MP
Action needed to tackle worrying rise of young people carrying and using knives
Reading East MP, Rob Wilson, expressed deep concern this week about new local knife crime statistics published by the Government, and called for action to tackle the growing menace.
The official figures published by the Home Office show that across the Thames Valley, there were 329 serious offences last year involving knives. 11 per cent of all wounding, grievous bodily harm or robberies were committed with a knife in the Thames Valley.
Coupled with findings in the Economist, the British Crime Survey reveals how the proliferation of knife crime now means that Britain is the most dangerous country in the western world for violent attacks (5.7 attacks per 100 people), the Netherlands and USA are joint 2nd with 4.2.
The Conservatives are calling for a series of urgent measures to reduce knife crime, which include:
- Anyone convicted of carrying a knife should expect to receive a custodial sentence. Currently, the Government is planning to allow offenders carrying a knife to be let off with a fine in some circumstances.
- Making it easier for police officers to stop suspects and search them for knifes and other weapons, and increasing use of mobile knife scanners on the streets and on public transport (as already being successful trialled in London by Boris Johnson).
- Providing more custodial places for young offenders, and increasing support for drugs and education programmes, and tackling the causes of knife crime such as family breakdown, lack of school discipline and welfare dependency.
Rob Wilson commented, “I am very concerned about these new figures showing the menace of knife crime on our streets. This is a shocking indictment of Labour’s failure to tackle crime and its causes.
“Our police have been tied up in so much red tape that they can only spend 14 per cent of their time on the beat fighting crime. At the same time our unprotected borders have allowed too many weapons and hard drugs to flow into our country. Labour has also failed to address family breakdown which sets too many young people on a path of crime.
“The Conservatives would start tackling this crime crisis by freeing our police from red tape and targets so they can be deployed on our streets to catch and deter criminals. We need stronger deterrent sentences such as a presumption of prison for those convicted of knife crime. And we will address the fundamental causes of crime like drugs and family breakdown.”
You can also find a video of Rob talking about Knife Crime on his YouTube channel: http://uk.youtube.com/user/robwilsonmp