Helen Hayes has blasted the government’s response to rising knife crime, saying ‘piecemeal pockets of limited funding’ aren’t good enough.
Challenging home secretary Sajid Javid at a parliamentary debate on knife crime on Monday, Hayes said: “The past two years have seen six tragic knife murders in my constituency, including, in the past month, the murders of Dennis Anderson in East Dulwich and Glendon Spence, who died after being chased into a youth centre in Brixton.
“For every tragic victim, there are countless families who are living in daily fear. One mother told me recently of her teenage son. She said: ‘I pray when he leaves the house and I don’t breathe until he is home again’.”
Hayes asked Javid whether he would commit to reversing the public funding cuts, saying said lack of funding said would make it impossible to implement a ‘public health approach’ to tackling serious violence after nine years of austerity had left the police, hospitals, social, youth and housing services ‘decimated’.
Javid argued the government had made ‘very significant increases in resourcing’ including a £200 million endowment fund for youth services, saying although more ‘might’ be needed, ‘it would be wrong to say that they are piecemeal resources and in some way insignificant’.
Theresa May has said police cuts are not responsible for rising knife crime, nationally at the highest levels seen since records began in 1946.
This week, the Met said its violent crime taskforce’s shifts had been extended and and increased police presence led to more than 2,500 stop and searches made in the last three days.