PCC's disappointment following Serious Violence Summit

Merseyside / April 01

Merseyside's Police Commissioner has expressed her disappointment after attending today's Serious Violence Summit hosted by the Prime Minister.

Jane Kennedy spoke out after being invited to attend a roundtable at 10 Downing Street by Theresa May, with the aim of bringing experts around the table to tackle the recent increase in knife crime and youth violence.

The Commissioner described the event as "well-meaning, but lacking in focus", highlighting the fact that participants were separated in a way that meant existing sector silos were "reinforced, rather than challenged", with health service representatives in one room, education in another and youth provision in yet another.

Jane said: "There was no sense or recognition of why this increase in violence is being experienced - no acknowledgement that austerity coupled with the Prime Minister's sustained undermining of the police use of stop and search powers has led to a growth in confidence amongst youths that they can carry knives on the street with impunity."

The Commissioner has welcomed the changes, announced over the weekend, to the police's ability to use stop and search; a tool that Merseyside Police's Chief Constable Andrew Cooke has vocally supported in recent months, describing it as  is "the single greatest power that policing has for preventing crime, provided it is used properly and it is intelligence led and based on criminality".

Jane said: "I will continue to encourage the Chief Constable to pursue those intent on violence with all the powers available to him, while also re-doubling our efforts to prevent crime."