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Mar 4, 2019

Ministers have 'lost grip' on 'national crisis' over knife crime, Lord Hogan-Howe says

Charles Hymas 4 March 2019.



Ministers have failed to get a grip on the national knife crime crisis, former Met Police Commissoner Lord Hogan-Howe warned today.
After a weekend in which two innocent 17-year-olds were stabbed to death, he said ministers needed to appoint a "leader" who would focus day-to-day on reversing the highest rate of knife crime attacks and killings on record.
Citing the £1 billion about to be invested in boosting police numbers which have fallen by 22,000 since 2010, he said: "It’s perfectly right for the Home Office, the Government to ask what are you going to do with that money.
"You want to know day by day what is going to be delivered. I don’t get that sense of grip.
"What [the Government] has not got is a catalyst to pull it together. It needs a leader who will say day after day, what are the police doing, what are the other agencies doing, how can we get the charities to work together.
"If it’s not treated as a crisis, it will take another two years before we see action."
Lord Hogan-Howe believed the £1 billion could pay for an extra 22,000 officers, to replace those lost since 2010, but ministers were leaving policing decisions to the 43 forces.
"If you really want cops, make sure it’s spent on cops," he said. "If it was my money, I would want to know week after week when are you recruiting, when do they arrive, when do they hit the streets and when they hit the streets, what are you going to do with them?"
In the killings at the weekend, Yousef Makki, 17, a talented public schoolboy who dreamed of being a heart surgeon, was stabbed to death in Manchester, just hours after Jodie Chesney, also 17, was killed in an unprovoked attack in her local park on the outskirts of London.
The scale of the crisis has prompted Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, to call a meeting with police chiefs this week as he warned such "senseless" violence could not go on.
A new analysis of NHS data suggests there has been a 93 per cent rise in the number of children being treated for wounds caused by knives or other sharp objects over the past five years.
Lord Hogan-Howe said one of the factors in the surge in knife crime was a bumper cocaine crop from Colombia which had seen the price of the drug fall in the UK, which had led to increased violence among gangs fighting over the market.
A second factor, he said, was too many people carrying knives. "It looks like there are more people who are worried to be caught without a knife than they are to be caught with one," he said.
"It is a false logic. If you carry a knife a fight can turn into a lethal event. If a knife is taken from you, and they are stronger and quicker than you, you have a real problem. I would say to young people: ‘Don’t do it, find another way.’”
He said that current technology to detect knives was "in the dark ages", comprising just "wands and arches".
He called for a stepchange in research by the Home Office’s one-time scientific branch, now part of the Ministry of Defence, to develop technology and behaviour science.
Police and agencies also needed to find a way of improving links into communities to encourage them to identify knife carriers. "People know who are carrying knives," he said. "I would argue their mothers know, their brothers, their friends.
"The problem is whether they will tell the police who has got them. We have to get cleverer ways of linking with young people that explains how to resolve that dilemma."
He said knife crime was now a national crisis, affecting across the UK. "The most obvious correlation is with deprivation. In some parts of our communities race is the equivalent correlation," he added.

Source: The Telegraph

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