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New Measures Announced to Tackle Serious Violence in UK

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced a number of new measures aimed at ousting violent crime across England and Wales targeted at stopping young people becoming involved in violent crime. These new measures come after the publication of the Violence Strategy in April, which was a collaboration of partners from various sectors to deliver a multi-agency response to the rise in violent crimes.

According to the report, homicide alongside knife and gun crime has increased since 2014 and robbery has risen since 2016 despite a fall in overall crime in the majority of England and Wales. Moreover, findings also claim that young people are likely to be both the victims and perpetrators in these incidents, with most of the violence being male on male.

The report contributes roughly half the rise in robbery, knife and gun crime to an increase in police recording. It also claims that “drug-related cases seem to be an important driver” for the rise in homicides where the victim or perpetrator was believed to be using or dealing drugs rose from 50% to 57% between 2014-2017.

The new measures announced by the Home Secretary are as follows:

  • Consultation on new legal duty to underpin a “public health” approach to tackling serious violence: Under this framework, police officers, education partners, health care professionals, and local authorities will have a new legal responsibility to take action to prevent violent crime. By making this a top priority for all parties, this measure is designed to stop young people from entering into a cycle of crime.
  • A new £200 million youth endowment fund: Aimed at 10 to 14 year-olds, the fund will be delivered over a 10-year period to build evidence for early intervention. The fund will hone in on those deemed to be the most at risk from youth violence such as those who display signs including truancy from school, aggression, and anti-social behaviour to deter them from becoming serious offenders.
  • An independent review of drug misuse: As drugs have been identified as a key cause of violent crime, a review into recreational drug use alongside users who harm themselves and their communities will be carried out to ensure law enforcement and policies are targeting and preventing drug-related violence effectively.

The latter also follows calls from senior law enforcement officers to target middle-aged cocaine users who are thought to be increasing street violence. Middle-class professionals will also find themselves under review for recreational drug use.

Calls for a youth fund also come after a similar scheme in Scotland was successful; this strategy of targeting vulnerable children was recently implemented in London.

Children are being used more frequently to run drugs as dealers believe they are less likely to be caught or punished. Furthermore, the labour and sexual exploitation of these children has led British people to become potentially the largest group of modern slavers reported to authorities.

The Home Office has also stated that social media is being used to “glamorise” the lifestyle of dealers by flaunting their earnings, taunting rivals, and brandishing weaponry in a bid to recruit susceptible young people.

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