Concerned at the 76 per cent increase in youth knife crime in the borough in the past year, Sarah Jones, Croydon Central’s new MP, took the opportunity of Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday to demand more support for local police from the Tory government.
The latest police figures show 571 knife offences in Croydon in 2016.
Called by the Speaker at PMQs for the first time since she was elected in the General Election last month, Jones asked: “Does the Prime minister agree that the huge increase in knife crime has tragic consequences for families in constituencies like mine? What will the Prime Minister do to work with me and other MPs across this house to find solutions to this blight on young lives – including looking again at the budget for policing?”
The intervention comes as Jones, fellow Croydon Labour MP Steve Reed OBE and Tony Newman, the leader of Croydon Council, wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd highlighting the worsening situation in Croydon.
The letter points out two cases where police in Croydon admitted they did not have sufficient officers to properly deal with knife crime incidents, and presses for “urgent intervention to ensure the police are properly equipped to keep the streets of Croydon safe from knife crime”.
Jones’s question to the interim Prime Minister also included a plea to look again at budgets for policing.
Theresa Maybe’s response was entirely as expected: another feeble gag at the expense of Jones’s predecessor as local MP, Gavin Barwell, and then a spewing forth of well-meaning platitudes and not a single commitment to anything.
Crime figures are beginning to present the latest serious credibility problem for May, since she spent six years as Home Secretary, in which time police numbers in England and Wales were cut by 20,000.
Nationally, official crime statistics published today show:
- Violent crime up 18%
- Robbery up 16%
- Sex offences up 14%
- Murder up 9%
- Knife crime up 20%
- Firearms offences up 23%
In Croydon, Conservative cuts to police budgets have seen Croydon lose 8 out of 10 of its community police officers.
In 12 months to March 2017, the number of young people injured in knife crime in Croydon rose by 76 per cent.
And shocking new figures obtained from the Metropolitan Police under Freedom of Information laws have revealed a total of 571 knife crime offences were recorded in the borough in 2016 – more than 10 offences involving knives every week.
Since becoming MP, Jones has begun work to establish a cross-party group within parliament specifically focused on knife crime.
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