Knife crime needs 'less talk and more action' warns Tom Brake MP

November 14, 2008 11:19 AM

On the day (Friday 14th November) that the Home Secretary, the Rt. Hon Jacqui Smith MP, is expected to unveil a billboard ad encouraging young people to stand up against knife crime, Tom Brake MP, the Liberal Democrat London Spokesman launched a comprehensive package of measures, aimed at reducing knife and gun crime in London, entitled 'Less talk, more action'.

The Liberal Democrats believe three key proposals in this plan, would have a major impact on knife and gun crime;

1.The Liberal Democrats would put 10,000 more police officers on the beat, or around 2,000 extra in London, by scrapping the Government's ID card scheme. Youth offending would not just be tackled by the increased police numbers but by better use of police time.

2. In each Safer Neighbourhood Team, train a dedicated community support officer to identify and work with the young people who are most at risk through schools, youth groups and outreach work.

3. The creation of a Greater London Youth Volunteer Force (GLYVOF) to make taking up volunteering opportunities more attractive to young people, including the most disenfranchised and at risk. Activities would be relevant to young people but also teach skills for tomorrow. The Liberal Democrats would pilot the creation of 33 Youth Volunteer Forces, one in every London borough and the City of London. Local authorities will have the right to pilot the scheme in their area.

Announcing the Liberal Democrat plans, Tom Brake MP, who as well as being the London Spokesman is a member of the Lib Dem Home Affairs Team and a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee said,

'Thanks to a Labour decade, Britain now has the highest rate of youth incarceration and the lowest age of criminal responsibility in Europe. The rate of stab wounds for under 16s has gone up 62% in the past five years while admissions to hospital for stab wounds for 16-18 year olds have risen 42% in five years.

'Between 1995 and 2005 there was an 86% rise in the number of 15 to 17 year-olds in custody. And Labour has failed to rehabilitate offenders as well, leading to a recidivism rate of 75%.'

Tom Brake also criticised Boris Johnson's youth crime policy which was released last week. He said, 'This plan is not only vague, and under-funded, it also proposes actions that are outside the scope of the Mayor's responsibilities. He pledges things he is unable to implement'.

On Monday in Stockwell, the Home Affairs Select Committee is holding a seminar on knife crime in London. 'This seminar will be a good opportunity to show people that the Liberal Democrats are the only party which has effective solutions to solve youth crime' Tom added.

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