After creating a policing crisis with repeated funding cuts, the Government has now offered the police £100 million in emergency funding to tackle soaring knife crime.
Some £80 million of this funding is new money from the Treasury and the remaining £20 million will be found by the Home Office from existing budgets.
Certainly, the police do need more resources to bear down on violent crime as knife offences reached a record high of 39,818 between September 2017 and September 2018. But, while the extra money is welcome, the amount the Tories have been forced into offering isn’t nearly enough to cover for the £2.7 billion they have taken out of policing since 2010.
Years of police cuts have had serious consequences. Over the last nine years, some 21,000 officers, 6,800 PCSOs and 18,000 police staff have left the force. At the same time, the Government’s underfunding of public services has removed the support structures that prevent people from being drawn into crime and violence.
To seriously deal with knife crime, we need to tackle the root causes of violence. That’s why I’ve called on the Prime Minister to recruit 10,000 new police officers as a matter of urgency and provide youth services with a desperately-needed cash boost.
As I was pressing the Government to implement these measures, I was appalled to hear Boris Johnson suggest that money spent investigating historic child sex abuse was being wasted.
It should go without saying that all victims of historic sexual violence deserve justice and Johnson’s remarks are utterly disgraceful. It would be a grave injustice if extra funding to tackle knife crime came at the expense of rape victims.
I’ll always do what I can to stand up for victims of sexual violence and, in recent months, I’ve been proud to support Sammy Woodhouse’s campaign to increase protection for women who have conceived children through rape.
Johnson’s comments are indicative of the Tories’ approach – they are not dealing with crime, or the causes of crime, in a serious manner. Unfortunately, I see no signs of that changing.
The country desperately needs a Labour Government to provide the police, public services, and the courts with the resources they need to keep people safe from harm.