GE2024: ‘Knife crime is a public health issue’

25 June 2024

  • Latest news

UK Youth has urged political parties to prioritise the role of youth work when it comes to tackling knife crime.

Sir Keir Starmer has today announced plans to halve knife crime incidents within 10 years, if Labour win the General Election on Thursday, July 4.

Pledging to host an annual summit, the Labour Party leader said it would be a “moral mission” for his government, if elected, to cut knife crime.

It comes after crimes involving knives or sharp instruments in England and Wales rose 7 per cent, from 46,153 in 2022, to 49,489 in 2023.

Labour has also pledged to introduce a new 10-year Young Futures programme, bringing together services and communities to support young people, including a new national network of Young Futures hubs, with mental health and youth workers, to tackle the crisis in youth mental health, to give teenagers the best start in life and stop them falling into crime.

UK Youth has welcomed this, as it recognises the vital role of youth work as part of the solution to knife crime.

Indeed, our Government-funded research published this year highlighted a rise in weapon possession among young people in areas where youth provision had been cut.

Knife crime is a public health issue, worsened by cuts which have dismantled vital support services, such as youth work.

Jacob Diggle, UK Youth chief impact officer

Jacob Diggle, UK Youth chief impact officer, said: “Knife crime is a public health issue, worsened by cuts which have dismantled vital support services, such as youth work.

“From 2011-21, local authority youth provision funding in England fell in real terms from £1,058.2 million to £408.5m, while the number of council-operated youth clubs nearly halved.

“UK Youth’s research shows that when this preventative support is taken away, young people are more vulnerable to crime. Reductions in local youth provision are associated with a rise in weapon possession offences, as well as anti-social behaviour, bike thefts and shoplifting.

“We know how the right support, in the right places, at the right times, can give young people hope and prevent violence before it occurs. Youth work plays a vital role in supporting young people’s development, providing safe spaces, support to develop essential skills and a sense of belonging and purpose.

“We therefore welcome Labour’s pledge to tackle knife crime and its Young Futures programme. We call on all parties to commit to transformative investment in youth work and young lives.”

Jacob Diggle, UK Youth chief impact officer.

Election calls

Ahead of the forthcoming General Election, UK Youth is urging all political parties to: 

Read more

‘Youth work is a solution’

UK Youth responds to Labour Party manifesto

UK Youth responds to Conservative Party manifesto

UK Youth responds to Liberal Democrat manifesto

UK Youth responds to proposal for mental health professionals in school

What the youth sector wants from the next government

UK Youth responds to National Service proposal

About UK Youth

UK Youth is a leading charity with a vision that all young people are equipped to thrive and empowered to contribute at every stage of their lives. With an open network of more than 8,000 youth organisations and nation partners; UK Youth reaches more than four million young people across the UK and is focused on unlocking youth work as the catalyst of change that is needed now more than ever. To find out more, visit ukyouth.org 

UK Youth is involved in a range of programmes designed to help young people thrive, such as outdoor learning, physical literacy, social action and employability, including Hatch, a youth employability programme run in partnership with KFC. For more on UK Youth’s programmes, see ukyouth.org/what-we-do/programmes

Share this post
WordPress Website Theme Developer