"Time to put party politics aside and end this knife crime epidemic"
06 March 2019
National Chair John Apter
The National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales has urged ministers to put party politics aside and give the police service the resources they need to help halt the devastating knife crime epidemic sweeping the country.
The plea comes following a meeting between the Home Secretary and police leaders which saw the chiefs call for emergency funding to enable them to tackle the issue.
Reacting to the news Sajid Javid has given Police chiefs until Friday to set out the scale of investment they need.
PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “It is a sad state of affairs that it has taken children being murdered on our streets to galvanise the Government in to action but I am pleased that Mr Javid, at least, seems to have woken up to the scale and severity of this problem. He has acknowledged that addressing the issue of police resources is a key part of getting to grips with this national emergency.
“The Government must now put aside party politics or concerns about losing political face and do what must be done to stop this criminal waste of young life, and a large part of that must be significant investment in policing.”
Mr Javid met with the heads of the National Crime Agency and the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police along with the chief constables of Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, South Wales and South and West Yorkshire to discuss the surge in knife crime blighting the country.
The NPCC said immediate action is needed, calling for:
- violent crime to be treated as a national emergency requiring emergency funding;
- further long term funding for the police service and;
- Government to get the right people around the table with a senior minister holding all the agencies and departments to account for what they're doing to reduce serious violence.
As well as seeking additional funding, the chiefs also detailed the tactics they plan to utilise to combat the problem including targeted patrols in crime hotspots, increased use of stop and search including ‘section 60’ powers, and increasing the focus on ‘county lines’ drug dealing.
Speaking after the meeting the Home Secretary said he recognised the need for additional funding for the police service saying: “We have got to do everything we can and I am absolutely committed to working with the police… We have to listen to them when they talk about resources.”
He continued: “I will do everything I can to make sure the police have all the resources that they need.”
But his comments were at odds with the Prime Minister Theresa May who just minutes later took to the Dispatch Box during Prime Ministers Questions to claim that her Government “do ensure police have the right resources”.
She also said she is calling a ‘Knife Crime Summit’ at Downing Street to examine the issue.
The action from the Government has been trigged by a surge in the number of young people being stabbed. Last weekend two 17-year-olds died in separate incidents in London and Manchester as a result of knife crime.
Mr Apter has requested an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary on Monday to discuss the crisis.
John continued: “We must remember that at the heart of this young people – children – are losing their lives leaving their families, loved ones and communities devastated.
“Political policy or the need to balance spreadsheets can never be considered more important than that. The Prime Minister has been told in no uncertain terms what is needed now she must step up and deliver,” he concluded.