©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

#KnifeFree - The #YouthSelect Committee gathered evidence for its report entitled Our Generation’s Epidemic: Knife Crime in July 2019 following a UK-wide ballot of 1.1 million young people aged 11 to 18, in which young people declared knife crime their biggest concern.

They heard from a range of expert witnesses including leaders from the worlds of business, politics and the charity sector. Their report was published in February 2020.

Their investigation concluded that socio-economic factors are crucial in making some young people vulnerable to violence, gangs and knife crime and highlighted the need for better services to reach those at risk. The report also encouraged the Government to ensure the views of those with lived experience of knife crime are embedded into the Serious Violence Strategy and challenged the government on stop and search powers and short term custodial sentences for those who carry knives.

In their response, the Government stated that they are committed to tackling violent crime, including addressing key drivers of crime and diverting people away from involvement in serious violence. The Government pointed to targeted investment in early intervention programmes that will seek to help young people, as well as to initiatives to support youth workers, ex-offenders and those who have been expelled from school.

The Government response also addressed some of the Committee’s major concerns related to custodial sentences and stop and search. The Government declared their support for fair and targeted stop and search, and that this should never be based on someone’s race or ethnicity.

The Government also agreed to the recommendation to engage and work with young people on the issue of knife crime, including those with lived experience of relevant policy areas.

Rachel Ojo, Chair of the Youth Select Committee, said:

“The Youth Select Committee is very pleased to have finally received a response from the Government – over a year after our report was released.

“The issue of violent knife crime is one of the biggest facing young people in this country and while we are glad that some of our recommendations have been agreed to, we implore the Government to act on their commitment, to ensure that tackling knife crime is not only top of their agenda but that preventative measures take a priority”

The Youth Select Committee is a joint initiative between British Youth Council and Parliament. It gives young people from across the country the opportunity to scrutinise and hold inquiries into topics of importance to them. The eleven committee members are aged 11-18 and include Members of the UK Youth Parliament, Youth Councillors and representatives from each of the devolved nations.


 

Education Committee to hold evidence session on knife crime 

27th Mar 2019: The Education Committee held a one-off evidence session to explore whether there is a link between the rise in exclusions and increase in knife crime.

In the first two months of this year, there were 41 fatal stabbings in England and Wales, and latest figures show the number of annual fatal stabbings is at the highest since records began. The session will examine some of the factors which may have led to the rise, as well as whether there is a correlation between knife crime and school exclusions. Members will also have the chance to discuss with the panel Scotland’s approach to tackling knife crime over the past decade.

Last summer, the Committee’s report on alternative provision called on the Government to do more to tackle the rise in school exclusions and improve the quality of alternative provision. The report warned that a lack of early intervention and support was contributing to an increase in the number of pupils being excluded.

Witness schedule

Wednesday 27th March at 10am, Committee Room 6

  • Will Linden, Deputy Director, Scottish Violence Reduction Unit
  • AC Mark Simmons, Assistant Commissioner, London Metropolitan Police
  • Carlie Thomas, Senior Caseworker Rescue & Response, St Giles Trust
  • Sir Michael Wilshaw, Professor of Education and Director of Multi-Academy Trusts, St Mary’s University

The meeting will be broadcast live on Parliament TV.

The Committee’s report Forgotten children: alternative provision and the scandal of ever increasing exclusions was published on 25 July 2018.

This month, police commissioners and the Mayor of London wrote to the Prime Minister warning of the link between school exclusions and knife crime.

Committee Membership: Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP (Con, Harlow), Lucy Allan MP (Con, Telford), Ben Bradley MP (Con, Mansfield), Marion Fellows MP (SNP, Motherwell and Wishaw), James Frith MP (Lab, Bury North), Emma Hardy MP (Lab, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle), Trudy Harrison MP (Con, Copeland), Ian Mearns MP (Lab, Gateshead), Lucy Powell MP (Lab Co-op, Manchester Central), Thelma Walker MP (Lab, Colne Valley), William Wragg MP (Con, Hazel Grove)

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