The public health obligation on violent crimes will bring long-term changes, says Sajid Javid UK news


A new legal duty on public bodies to help prevent and combat serious violence, including stabbing crime, must be announced by the family secretary.

As part of the public health duty, which this week will be illustrated by Sajid Javid, services that will include police forces, local councils and NHS funds will be required to cooperate.

This will cover the sharing of data, intelligence and knowledge to understand and address the root causes of serious violence, the Home Office said.

Javid said: "Violent crime is a disease that is affecting our communities and is taking too many young lives.

"It is essential to work together to understand firstly the causes of violent crime, so we can intervene early and prevent this senseless bloodshed.

"I am confident that a public health approach and a new legal requirement for public agencies to collaborate will create real and lasting long-term change."

The government will also change the law on crime and disorder to make serious violence an explicit priority for community security partnerships – including local police, fire services and trial – ensuring the existence of a strategy for face it, said the Home Office.

Inspections and other existing mechanisms will be used to ensure compliance with the duty. Organizations, rather than individual teachers, nurses or other frontline professionals, will be required to give an account, the Ministry of Internal Affairs added.

According to official data released last month, the number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons has reached the highest level since 2010.

More than 22,000 possession or threat attacks with blades or offensive weapons led to a conviction or caution in England and Wales in 2018-19.

One in five of the perpetrators was between the ages of 10 and 17, the Ministry of Justice figures revealed.

Speaking with the PA, Javid said that the increase in youth violence has a lot to do with "the changes in the drug markets we are seeing all over the world".

"In terms of how we deal with it, I wish there was only one answer, but I think it is not there. It is necessary to act on many fronts," he added.

This year, in the midst of a series of deadly layoffs, the government granted an additional £ 100 million for police in areas most affected by knife crime and serious violence and gave officers more arresting powers and search.

On Monday, the prime minister, Theresa May, will also hold his next ministerial task force, which will listen to young people from the government's youth advisory forum on their experiences of serious violence.

May said: "Our new legal duty will ensure that all agencies work together to share intelligence and identify warning signs so they can intervene earlier and protect young people."

Reacting to the announcement, Patricia Marquis, director of the Royal College of Nursing for England, said: "Get public bodies like NHS funds, police forces and advice to work together to try to prevent the violent crime sounds like a reasonable approach.

"Our concern when the home secretary first announced these plans in April was the proposal of a legal duty for individual nurses to try to identify patients at risk of becoming victims of knife crimes – which we thought would too heavy a burden for the nursing staff, who are already struggling with a severe lack of workforce in an effort to provide assistance.

"We are pleased that Javid has listened to our concerns and changed his plans."

Commissioner for Childhood England, Anne Longfield, said: "It is right that knife crime is seen as a public health problem", and added that "it is a duty addressed to those whose job is to protect children ".

"Although this is a step forward, it will not be enough on its own. There must be a commitment from the government and the new prime minister to make it and put the right resources behind it," he added.



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