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On 29 November 2018, the House of Lords will debate the following motion: 

Lord Harris of Haringey to move that this House takes note of the recent increase in violent crime and the case for a cross-Governmental response that includes not only policing, law enforcement and policies on gangs and drugs but also health services, youth provision and opportunities for young people.

Violent crime has been raised as a subject of public concern in both Houses of Parliament, particularly in light of recent press reports of knife crime in London. Whilst data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales has shown that people’s experience of violence has remained relatively static for the past four years, extreme violent crime, as recorded by the police, has increased over the same period. For example, the number of homicides has increased from 533 in the year ending March 2014 to 701 in March 2018 and the number of police recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument has risen from 25,588 to 40,147.

On 9 April 2018, the Government published its Serious Violence Strategy, in which it emphasised the importance of early intervention as well as effective law enforcement to tackle violent crime. It also spoke about the need for a cross-government response. Following the strategy’s publication, the Government announced plans in October 2018 to consult on a public health approach to violent crime. This would place police officers, education partners, local authority and health care professionals under a statutory duty to take action and prevent violent crime. On 19 September 2018, the Mayor of London announced a new public health approach to violent crime in the capital, partly inspired by successes in Scotland based on a similar model.

This Lords Library Briefing examines statistics on violent crime in England and Wales. It then provides an overview of the Serious Violence Strategy and responses to it and presents information on a public health approach to combatting serious violence. 


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