Police forces, local councils and NHS trusts will be required to work together to tackle serious crime under a new legal duty, which will be unveiled next week.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Violent crime is a disease that is plaguing our communities and taking too many young lives.
© Getty The number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons has hit its highest level since 2010, figures show”It’s crucial that we all work together to understand what causes violent crime in the first place, so we can intervene early and prevent this senseless bloodshed.
“I’m confident that a public health approach and a new legal requirement that make public agencies work together will create real, lasting long-term change.”
Public bodies will be required to share data, intelligence and knowledge to understand and address the root causes of serious violence, including knife crime.
The government will also amend the Crime and Disorder Act to ensure serious violence is an explicit priority for community safety partnerships by ensuring there is a strategy in place to tackle it.
© Peter Byrne/Press Association A number of hospitals have been hit by a large scale cyber attack
Organisations that do not comply with the new duty will be held to account rather than individual teachers, nurses or other frontline professionals, the Home Office said.
According to official figures released last month, the number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons has hit its highest level since 2010.
More than 22,000 offences of possessing or making threats with blades or offensive weapons resulted in a conviction or caution in England and Wales in 2018-19.
One in five of the culprits was aged between 10 and 17, the figures from the Ministry of Justice revealed.
© Thomson Reuters Armed police stand next to suspicious vehicle parked outside New Scotland Yard following an investigation by a bomb disposal unit, in London, Britain March 9, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Responding to the announcement, Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the Local Government Association’s safer and stronger communities board, welcomed the public health approach to tackling violent crime but called on the government to stump up the cash.
“We are concerned amending the Crime and Disorder Act will not create the required step-change to tackle serious violent crime, particularly if this is not supported with extra funding,” he said.
“Government needs to reverse funding cuts to local youth services, youth offending teams and councils’ public health budgets, which need to be addressed in the Spending Review, otherwise we will not be able to tackle serious violence in our communities.”
Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service secure the area outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Janaury 8, 2019. – Dozens of British MPs have written to London’s police chief to warn about a ‘deteriorating public order and security situation’ around parliament, after Brexit supporters assailed pro-EU figures there on January 8. (Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / AFP) (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty Images)
Patricia Marquis, the Royal College of Nursing director for England, said the new public health duty was “a sensible approach”.
She added: “Our worry when the home secretary first announced these plans back in April was that they proposed a legal duty for individual nurses to try to identify patients at risk of becoming victims of knife crime – which we felt was placing too great a burden on nursing staff, who are already struggling with severe workforce shortages in trying to provide care.
“We are glad Mr Javid has listened to our concerns and amended his plans.”