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Rising knife crime linked to cuts in council funding

The increase in knife crime could be linked to cuts in youth service funding, with areas suffering the largest falls showing the biggest rises in violence involving knives.

A study by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) suggested the average council had reduced spending on youth services – which funds things such as youth clubs and youth workers – by 40% between the years 2014-15 and 2017-18.

Two local authorities, the City of Wolverhampton and the City of Westminster, saw cuts of 91% over the same three years.

A direct comparison between geographical areas covered by police forces and local authority boundaries is not possible, but the APPG analysis suggests forces serving areas with the biggest cuts, such as West Midlands Police, the Metropolitan Police, Cambridgeshire Police, and Thames Valley Police, have also seen some of the highest increases in knife crime.

Barnardo's chief executive Javed Khan said: "These figures are alarming but sadly unsurprising. Taking away youth workers and safe spaces in the community contributes to a 'poverty of hope' among young people who see little or no chance of a positive future.

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"The government needs to work with local authorities to ensure they have enough funding to run vital services and restore children's sense of hope."

The APPG analysis comes ahead of a meeting in parliament on Tuesday, where young people across the country will discuss the effect of cuts to youth services in their area.

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2018 saw knife crime reach record levels with with 40,829 offences involving knives or sharp objects recorded in England and Wales.

John Poyton, chief executive of Redthread, a charity that works in emergency departments to deter young people from violence, said: "These statistics of cuts to youth services and rises in violence highlight the need to ensure all young people have access to the support they need, both at the point when they recognise they need help and perhaps most importantly before they realise they do."

Responding to the APPG research, a government spokesman saiRead More – Source

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