Dudley North MP Ian Austin today called on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to back a new £2 million scheme to tackle knife crime and gang violence.
Austin raised the issue in the House of Commons this afternoon after a spate of knife attacks in Birmingham and the Black Country.
He asked the Home Secretary to match funding for a new £2 million programme being organised by the Police Commissioner David Jamieson to tackle knife crime and gang violence with mediation schemes, mentoring programmes and projects to divert people at risk of becoming involved in gangs or criminal behaviour and he asked him to meet a cross-party group of MPs from the region to discuss how they can work together to tackle the problem.
In Austin said:
“We’ve seen a series of tragic deaths as a result of knife crime in the Black Country and I want all of us - the government, the police and the local community - to work together to do all we can to prevent more people being injured or killed.
“David Jamieson has scraped together an extra £2m to tackle gangs and violent crime. He’s asked Home Office to support this project and the new ideas it is trying out, but so far they’ve refused.
“The people responsible for violent crime are the criminals themselves, but we’ve lost over £140 million and 2000 police officers under this government. We’re facing major challenges from serious and violent crime, gang behaviour and even terrorism but West Midlands police has been cut five times as hard as leafy Surrey and that is bound to have an impact.”
Ian Austin’s question and Sajid Javid’s response were as follows:
Austin: Will the Home Secretary match the £2m that the West Midlands Police Commissioner has scraped together to tackle gangs and knife and violent crime with early intervention schemes, mediation programmes and other initiatives and will he meet me and a cross party delegation from eh West Midlands to discuss how we can work together to tackle this issue
Javid: I commend the work done locally by WMP to fight violent and particularly knife crime, the funds they’ve put to use I’m sure will make a difference and I’d be very happy to meet with him and other local members of parliament to discuss it further