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Starmer: Reducing knife crime will be ‘moral mission’ for Labour

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to tackle knife crime (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to tackle knife crime (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Online retailers will be brought in to a new coalition aimed at tackling knife crime under a Labour government.

Sir Keir Starmer wants ministers, victims and tech giants to work together to tackle the sale of weapons online and cut crime on the streets.

The Labour leader said reducing knife crime will be a “moral mission” if he is in 10 Downing Street after the General Election.

Graphic showing police-recorded knife crime offences in England and Wales

(PA Graphics[/caption]

Sir Keir has pledged to chair an annual summit to track progress in meeting the goal of halving knife crime incidents within a decade.

He said: “Knife crime is an issue above and beyond party politics.

“For the parents grieving sons and daughters who never came home, action to end this scourge cannot wait.

“Far too often we hear the same stories from grieving families who have been subject to these brutal murders carried out by children.”

Crimes involving knives or sharp instruments in England and Wales stood at 49,489 in 2023, up 7% from 46,153 in 2022, but 3% lower than the pre-pandemic total of 51,206 offences in the year ending March 2020.

The number of offences involving possession of an article with a blade or point rose slightly in 2023 to 27,672, up 1% from 27,463 in 2022.

Labour promised a five-step plan to tackle the problem: guaranteed sanctions for young people carrying knives; a Young Futures programme to support people most at risk; measures to get blades off the streets by extending the list of banned knives and reviewing online sales; a cross-government coalition involving politicians and community leaders; and a new offence of child criminal exploitation.

Sir Keir said: “It is our duty as political leaders of all stripes to work together to end knife crime and keep our young people safe.

“Cutting knife crime will be a moral mission for the next Labour government.

“Our new cross-government coalition will put knife crime victims and their families at the heart of government, working with us to take the strongest action in a generation to end this tragic crime.”

Policing minister Chris Philp said: “When Keir Starmer was in charge of the Crown Prosecution Service convictions for weapon possession fell, and knife crime has risen by 20% in Labour-run London.”

He said the Tories had a plan to recruit 8,000 more police officers, adding:” The choice at the election is clear: cracking down on crime with Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives, or back to square one with Keir Starmer and the same old Labour who consistently fail to tackle crime.”