Dudley North MP Ian Austin today called on the government to take urgent action on knife crime in the West Midlands after a spate of fatal knife attacks in Birmingham and the Black Country.
Austin raised the issue in the House of Commons and called on Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins MP to provide West Midlands Police with the resources it urgently needs to tackle knife crime and prevent any further lives being lost.
He also asked her to back the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioners bid for funding for the Violence Protection Alliance. The initiative will look at the root cause of violence and put in place preventative measures to stop young people becoming involved in crime though programmes such as mentoring in schools, community action, knife bins and employment support to help people in to steady jobs.
Austin also wants to see a zero-tolerance approach adopted so these people found with a knife can actually be locked up and kept off the streets.
In Austin said:
“We’ve seen a series of tragic deaths as a result of knife crime in the West Midlands, including here in Dudley, and I want the government to take action now to prevent any more lives being lost or people being injured as a result of knife crime.
“The people responsible for violent crime are the criminals themselves, but we’ve lost over £175 million and 2000 police officers under this government. We’re facing major challenges from serious and violent crime and gang behaviour but West Midlands police has been cut five times as hard as leafy Surrey and that is bound to have an impact.
"The government needs to do more so that West Midlands Police are equipped to deal with the challenges it is facing with violent crime, put more bobbies on the beat and keep people safe"
Ian Austin’s question to Victoria Atkins MP:
This is now a national crisis where young people are losing their lives not just on the streets of major cities but even in towns like Dudley. We’ve lost 2,000 police in the West Midlands over the last few years so the police urgently need more resources so we can get more police of the streets to deal with this problem.
We’ve also lost youth services, sports clubs and all the sorts of projects that keep young people off the streets and out of trouble, so will she support the PCC’s bid for more funding for the Violence Prevention Alliance?
And finally when people are found with knives they should be locked up like the Conservative promised in their manifesto in 2010 and that promise has never been upheld.