Iain Duncan Smith calls on Government to adopt the public health approach on knife crime

4th March 2019

Following a Government statement on knife crime, Iain Duncan Smith calls on the Government to adopt the approach used in Glasgow and for a central body to co-ordinate the actions of the London boroughs and focus on the safer streets process and support the voluntary sector organisations that can get children out of the gangs.

Thank you for granting this urgent question, Mr Speaker.

The other day I went out on patrol with the police in my area. In two and a half hours in the borough of Waltham Forest, we attended two knife attacks, one threatened knife attack and a shooting, and that was not even prime time. None of those made it into the media, by the way, so what is being reported is only the tip of the iceberg.

I want my right hon. Friend to ensure that we do this. There is enough evidence now of what works and what does not work. The Glasgow concept—of this being a public health issue—is not just about public health; it is about the co-ordination between the police and all the local authorities. Will he direct someone to co-ordinate the actions of all 32 London boroughs, focus on the safer streets process, which allows action to take place, and agree to immediate expenditure for voluntary sector organisations that can get children out of the gangs?

I thank my right hon. Friend for all his work, particularly through the serious violence taskforce, which he regularly attends. He made an important point about being led by evidence, and he pointed to the public health approach and rightly mentioned Glasgow. He also rightly highlighted the importance in a capital city of greater co-ordination. It is to ensure just that that we are working closely with the Mayor of London, local authorities and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Hansard