To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what (a) financial and (b) other steps her Department is taking to tackle knife crime in (i) Coventry North East constituency, (ii) Coventry, (iii) the West Midlands and (iv) England.
1 March 2022
The Home Office does not hold figures below the level of Police Force Area. In the year ending September 2020, there were 4,745 offences involving knives or sharp instruments in the West Midlands Police Force Area. This compares to 4,483 in the year ending September 2021. This represents a fall of 8% between September 2020 and September 2021.
The number of homicides recorded in the West Midlands Police Force Area involving a knife or sharp instrument over the last five years were as follows:
Year ending Sept 2017 - 23
Year ending Sept 2018 - 21
Year ending Sept 2019 - 22
Year ending Sept 2020 - 25
Year ending Sept 2021 - 23
The number of homicides recorded in England involving a knife or sharp instrument over the last five years were as follows:
Year ending Sept 2017 - 238
Year ending Sept 2018 - 279
Year ending Sept 2019 - 237
Year ending Sept 2020 - 252
Year ending Sept 2021 - 267
Tackling knife crime is a priority for this Government and we are supporting the police by recruiting an additional 20,000 police officers by March 2023. As at 31 December 2021, police forces in England and Wales have recruited over 11,000 additional officers as part of the Police Uplift Programme and West Midlands police force has recruited 844 additional uplift officers against a combined year 1 and 2 allocation of 730 officers.
Police funding is also increasing and, on 2 February 2022, the Government published a total police funding settlement of up to £16.9 billion in 2022/23. West Midlands Police will receive up to £694.9 million in 2022/23, an increase of up to £39.4 million when compared to 2021/22.
Since 2019, the Home Office has invested £105.5m (£35.5m this financial year) in the 18 areas worst affected by serious violence to develop Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) of which £10.11m has been allocated to the West Midlands PCC to develop the West Midlands VRU. VRUs combine the expertise of key local partners, including the police, health, education, and local authorities, to pinpoint the drivers of violence in their areas and deliver bespoke interventions in response. This includes targeted interventions with at-risk young people, ranging from behavioural therapy, social skills training, trusted adult relationships amongst many more. Over 300,000 young people have been supported by VRUs in their first two years of funding.
Additionally, we have made up to c.£17m available this financial year for additional early intervention and prevention programmes to support young people at high risk of involvement in serious violence, delivered via VRUs on top of their core funding. This includes three investments into the West Midlands, which are:
o £1.176m in high-intensity therapeutic interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy, which the Youth Endowment Fund’s Evidence Toolkit identifies as likely to be highly effective in reducing violent crime;
o £455k in ‘teachable moment’ style interventions for young people involved in serious violence which capitalise on important moments when they are likely to be most receptive (for example, admission to A&E or in police custody), connecting them to a package of support enabling a more positive life course; and
o £591k in trauma-informed training for frontline professionals to help them improve support for young people by developing a greater understanding of different types of trauma that may have been experienced by the children and young people they work with.
Since 2019 we have invested a further £136.5m to support the police across the 18 areas in England and Wales worst affected by serious violence to increase operational activity to tackle serious violence, including by delivering targeted patrols in serious violence hotspots.
Since 2019, £15.541m of this funding has been allocated to West Midlands Police. We have also invested £200m in early intervention and prevention support initiatives over 10 years to support children and young people at risk of exploitation and involvement in serious violence through the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF). The YEF will support how this government responds to serious violence by identifying what works in diverting children and young people away from involvement in serious violent crime. In total, 15 grantees in the West Midlands are in receipt of funding from all grant rounds.
We will also help the police target those who have already been convicted of knife or offensive weapon offences and who persist in unlawfully carrying a knife or a weapon with the intention to commit more violence. We have introduced Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill which will give the police powers to stop and search those already convicted of knife and offensive weapon offences. West Midlands Police will be one of the four police forces to pilot SVROs.