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Young people have been let down and failed by the Government resulting in a social emergency and a devastating loss of life according to a new report by the Home Affairs Select Committee.
The report, published today (31 July), points to the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy as a completely inadequate response to the wave of violence currently blighting our communities. The hard-hitting report calls for:
• Stronger focus, leadership and direction from the Government and Prime Minister, and an accountable leader in every local area reporting to the Prime Minister on action to bring serious violence down
• Major investment in local youth services and prevention work – including a new ‘Youth Service Guarantee’ to help prevent young people becoming caught up in violence
• Urgent action to tackle county lines – including stronger local safeguarding plans
• Substantial additional resources for policing
• All schools in areas with above average risk of youth violence to have dedicated police officers
• Action to cut school exclusions and end the part-time timetables in alternative education provision.
National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said:
“This report echoes what we have been saying for some time about the cuts to the police service, and their damaging consequences. The report calls on the Government to provide greater funding for the causes and the treatment of these issues rather than expecting the police to pick up the pieces.
Youth violence is a national emergency that my members are battling every day on our streets. But policing alone cannot solve this problem. There must be significant investment across the public sector to ensure that everything is being done to end this shameful epidemic. In many cases the only time young people have contact with the police is during an emergency which cannot be right. We need to get back to a situation where police officers are a visible and integral part of the community – a known and approachable presence – offering young people advice and support and providing a deterrent to those considering breaking the law.
But this cannot be achieved without significant investment in terms of officer numbers and resources. The report says the Government must: “make available substantial additional resources for policing” and they must. It is therefore very timely that the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have agreed an increase in police officer numbers. And, although this increase will take time to come into effect, this is a step in the right direction in combatting this important issue.”