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Hot topic: Preventing knife crime

In April the Office for National Statistics revealed that knife crime hit its highest level since records began in 2011

Many have called for a boost in youth-focused initiatives, alongside increased government funding. But can employers also help by creating more opportunities for young people? And where should they start?

James Ashall, chief executive of Movement to Work, says:

"The correlation between employment and crime reduction is well proven, so it’s critical that we give support to young people that leads to meaningful careers. It’s imperative employers provide positive mentorship and ambition to help reduce youth crime.

"Employers in the Movement to Work network offer employability schemes to young people not in education, employment or training. They offer placements that deliver on-the-job training and employability skills. When delivered in combination with youth organisations these help address poverty and crime by providing real opportunities.

"We’ve managed more than 80,000 placements to date, with more than 50% of those completing them getting jobs or going back into education.

"When young people see a bright future they become positive contributors to society and, starkly, fewer lives will be lost."

Stephen Case, head of social and policy studies and professor of criminology at Loughborough University, says:

"There has been a torrent of media coverage about violent crime among children and young people in the UK. But it seems to offer little consensus on what’s causing this crisis, what the impact of measures taken by the government and police are, and what should be done to curb the violence.

"Academic research has found crime is a symptom of the toxic environments that adults create around children, who then become both perpetrators and victims.

"It is created by politicians and by the politics of austerity, which has seen a £422.3 million reduction in spending on services for young people in the past six years. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of knife crime takes place in neighbourhoods suffering from huge social disadvantage and under-investment.

"The importance of employment and skills can’t be overstated, but this must be brought in alongside proper funding in youth services and in our communities.

"Above all, young people must feel they are listened to."

Check back tomorrow for part two of this hot topic

This piece appears in the November 2019 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk