To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to prevent young people from carrying knives.
28 October 2019
We are taking determined action to tackle knife crime and other serious violence, including by preventing children and young people from gaining access to knives in the first place. It is already illegal to sell knives and certain articles with blade or point to anyone under 18 in England and Wales, whether face to face or online, and the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 will further strengthen the law by stopping knives being sent to residential addresses after being bought online, unless the seller has arrangements in place with the delivery company to ensure that the product will not be delivered to a person under 18. Through the Offensive Weapons Act, we will also introduce new Knife Crime Prevention Orders which will give the police an important new tool to help them to work with both young people and adults at risk of being drawn into knife crime to steer them away from serious violence.
It is vital that the police have the resources and tools they need to tackle knife crime, including possession of knives on our streets. This is why we have increased police funding by more than £1 billion this year, including council tax and the £100 million Serious Violence Fund. Through the Serious Violence Fund we have provided £63.4 million to the 18 police forces worst affected by serious violence to pay for surge operational activity, and £1.6 million to help improve the quality of data on serious violence, particularly knife crime, to support planning and operations. In addition, £35million of the Serious Violence Fund is being invested in Violence Reductions Units which will form a key component of our action to build capacity in local areas to tackle the root causes of serious violence.
We have also launched a national campaign to begin to recruit 20,000 new police officers over the next three years, and we are making it easier for the police to use their important stop and search powers which is a vital tool in tackling knife possession on our streets and in our local communities.
In addition, we continue to encourage all police forces to undertake a series of coordinated national weeks of action to tackle knife crime under Operation Sceptre. The latest phase of the operation took place from 17 to 22 September and included targeted stop and searches, weapon sweeps, and surrender of knives, including through amnesty bins. The operation also includes test purchase operations to identify those retailers who flout the law and sell knives to under 18s. Through our dedicated Prosecution Fund we are supporting Trading Standards to prosecute rogue retailers who repeatedly fail test purchases.
We are also addressing the root causes of serious violence by investing over £220 million in early intervention projects, and as announced in the Queen’s Speech, we are bringing forward a new Bill to introduce a new legal duty on public bodies to work together to prevent and tackle serious violence.