Knife Crime Seminar Follow-up

Knife Crime Recommendations - Next Steps

On 26 November 2009 the Home Affairs Committee held a seminar to discuss the findings and conclusions of its Knife Crime Report, published in June, the Government’s subsequent response and next steps in implementing the Committee’s recommendations.

The Committee was addressed by Home Office Minister Rt Hon David Hanson MP; Crispin Blunt MP, on behalf of the Conservative Party; Paul Holmes MP, on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Party; Chief Constable Keith Bristow, representing the Tackling Knives Action Programme, and Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock, representing the Association of Chief Police Officers.

There was then an open discussion with representatives of the police, medical practitioners, academics and campaigners.

The Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, wrote to the Minister following the seminar to advise him of the main points arising in the discussions.

The full text of the letter is appended.

Session 2009-2010: No. 14     
14 December 2009

Appendix: Letter from Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman Home Affairs Select Committee to Rt Hon David Hanson MP, Minister of State, Home Office (7th December)

Points arising at the Committee’s Knife Crime Seminar

Thank you for attending our seminar on 26 November to inform the Committee about the Government’s response to our Report into Knife Crime and further action you are taking to address this issue.

I am writing to advise you of the main points that were made during the seminar relating to our conclusions and recommendations, which I would urge you to bear in mind as you continue your work in this area with colleagues across Government. A more detailed note of the meeting is also enclosed.

  • Although participants had varying views as to the most appropriate type and length of sentences to be awarded to those convicted of knife offences, they agreed that offender rehabilitation is currently inadequate and should be a priority.
  • Some participants were concerned that the Committee’s Report placed insufficient emphasis on the volume of knife offences relating to domestic violence. It was certainly not our intention to downplay this aspect of knife crime and we therefore draw your attention once again to our 2007 recommendations on domestic violence. We look forward to hearing progress on their implementation in your forthcoming note to the Committee.
  • Several participants made reference to the importance of support for positive parenting.
  • More use needs to be made of young people as role models for their peers.
  • It was encouraging to hear several participants voice their agreement with the Committee’s conclusion that there is public support for stop and search owing to the achievements of the police in improving community relations. However, one participant did sound a note of caution that this support is not universal amongst young people.
  • Participants were pleased that the Government had accepted the Committee’s recommendation regarding access to violent media in Youth Offenders Institutions. Some uncertainty was expressed however as to whether this regulation is being universally enforced.
  • In understanding the drivers of violence between young people, more consideration needs to be given to the problems they experience in moving between different “territorities”.
  • In view of future funding constraints, the next phase of the Tackling Knives Action Programme should maximise existing resources through intensifying multi-agency working.

Yours sincerely,

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP
Chairman, Home Affairs Select Committee