West Yorkshire PCC says forces are 'struggling' to control knife crime

West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns-Williamson.West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns-Williamson.
West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns-Williamson.
A West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has warned that police forces across the country are “struggling” in the fight against knife crime.

The intervention comes as Theresa May gathered her ministers for urgent meetings on the issue, amid controversy over her claim that police cuts are not directly linked to rising violent crime.

Speaking in the wake of a slew of fatal knife attacks on teenagers across the country, Mark Burns-Williamson - who is also the chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners - said cuts to policing and youth services had left officers “struggling to meet the demands of this kind of violent crime.”

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In a statement released on Monday night he added: “We have seen significant rises in knife and violent crime across the country, particularly involving children and young people, but not exclusively, resulting on too many occasions in the tragic loss of life."

He said there was an “urgent need to address the dramatic reductions in youth services and the significant rise in school exclusions, which many believe are linked to the rise in violent crime."

And he added that “more needs to be done to ensure sustained support and funding for our policing, youth services and wider prevention services.

“We have been highlighting these issues for some time to Government and there is an urgent need to come together to deliver focused and properly resourced action through a whole-system approach in order to deal with this scourge of knife and violent crime in our communities,” he said.

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On Monday, Mrs May sparked fury when she said there "was no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers".

However, she was later contradicted by Britain's most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, was said there is "obviously" a connection between reductions in officer numbers and street violence.