Bishop of St Albans asks for swords into ploughshares approach to tackle rising knife crime

On 21st July the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked Her Majesty’s Government “further to the statistical bulletin by the Office for National Statistics Crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2020, published on 17 July, which reported that the incidence of knife crime is at a record high, what action they are taking to address the rise of knife crime in England and Wales.” The Minister’s response and the follow-up question from the Bishop, is below:

Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office): My Lords, the Government are taking urgent action to tackle knife crime, which is costing too many lives and leaving too many people afraid. Police funding is increasing by more than £1 billion this year. We are recruiting 20,000 more police officers and making it easier for them to use stop and search, and we are ensuring that more knife crime offenders go to prison for longer.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the noble Baroness for her reply. We need a much more ambitious approach so that, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, swords are turned into ploughshares or—to put it into modern language—knives are turned into tools to capture the passion and energy of these young people whose lives are being blighted at the very point when we need their contribution more than ever. Will Her Majesty’s Government commit to a public health approach to this problem, encompassing reducing poverty, increasing youth services and strengthening community policing?

Baroness Williams of Trafford: I say to the right reverend Prelate that that is the only way to go. Knife crime problems are not caused by any one source and there is no magic area where we can deploy interventions. It has got to be a multiagency, public health approach, as the right reverend Prelate says.


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