Amber Rudd vows to do '˜whatever it takes' to tackle violent crime crisis

HOME secretary Amber Rudd will do '˜whatever it takes' to make Britain's streets safer as she launches a blitz on violent crime.

Monday, 9th April 2018, 8:47 am
Updated Monday, 9th April 2018, 9:41 am
Home secretary Amber Rudd pictured during her visit to Whiteley at the end of March. PHOTO: Malcolm Wells

The Tory MP will today emphasise the government’s determination to halt the rising tide of stabbings, shootings and acid attacks.

Ministers have faced sustained pressure over their response in recent days after a spate of killings in London.

Unveiling her multi-pronged blueprint on later today, Ms Rudd is expected to say: ‘We will take the comprehensive approach necessary to make sure that our sons and daughters are protected and our streets are safe.

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‘As a government, we will never stand by while acid is thrown or knives wielded.

‘I am clear that we must do whatever it takes to tackle this so that no parent has to bury their child.’

Her comments come after the home secretary’s visit to police offices near Fareham at the end of last month where she committed to tackling crime rates in the area and to keep an eye on Hampshire’s under-fire police and crime commissioner. Michael Lane, who is facing a no-confidence vote.In today’s latest speech, Ms Rudd is expected to highlight the importance of stopping youngsters carrying knives in the first place as she publishes the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy.

Officials say the approach marks a ‘major shift’ by striking a balance between prevention and law enforcement.

The strategy identifies the changing drugs market as a key driver of the violence affecting communities.

According to the document, around half the rise in robbery, knife and gun crime is due to improvements in police recording, with drug-related cases identified as an “important driver” behind the rest of the increase.

Figures show that between 2014-15 and 2016-17, murders where either the victim or suspect were known to be involved in using or dealing illicit drugs increased from 50 per cent to 57 per cent.

The strategy sets out how drug-market violence may be facilitated and spread by social media as a small minority of individuals use online platforms to glamorise gang life and taunt rivals.

Plans for the crackdown were first announced last year.

The finalised strategy - underpinned by £40m of Home Office funding and spearheaded by a new Offensive Weapons Bill - will:

- Call on social media companies to do more to rid the web of violent gang content

- Set out tough restrictions on online sales of knives following concerns that age verification checks can be sidestepped

- Make it a criminal offence to possess corrosive substances in a public place

- Reveal plans to consult on extending stop and search powers so police can use the tactics to seize acid from suspects carrying it without good reason

- Make it illegal to possess certain weapons, including zombie knives and knuckle-dusters, in private

Ministers are also stepping up efforts to tackle the ‘county lines’ drug distribution model where city gangs branch out into rural or coastal towns, using children and vulnerable adults as couriers to move heroin and crack cocaine between the new market and their urban hub.

The Home Office will provide £3.6 million to support the development of a new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre, while the strategy details how modern slavery legislation could be used to prosecute cases.