Last week myself and Rachel Hopkins MP had a meeting with the brilliant Violence and Exploitation Reduction (VERU) Unit to discuss their ‘Just Drop It’ anti-knife crime campaign strategy across Bedfordshire. At its heart is the voice and experience of a mum, Roseann, who tragically lost her young son Azaan ‘AJ’ Kaleem.
We know knife crime is a scourge on our society, and has increased by 70% since 2015. It has tragic and often fatal consequences. Knife crime not only takes lives, it devastates families, destroys futures and ambitions and has a detrimental ripple effect on our communities.
That is why I am glad Labour has today launched their Action Plan to cut knife crime, pledging £100 million to:
Enforce tougher consequences for carrying a knife, with mandatory and bespoke action plans to prevent re-offending
A targeted early intervention programme to stop young people being drawn into crime
A crackdown on the availability of knives on Britain’s streets
Ending exploitation of young people by criminal gangs
A new cross-Government Coalition to End Knife Crime, bringing together political and community leaders to play a role in tackling knife crime