Full text of the motion:
Conference notes with concern that:
- That knife crime is rising – the Office for National Statistics reported a 13–14% increase in gun and knife crime in 2016.
- According to the Guardian project ‘Beyond the Blade’, 21 children and teenagers have been killed in knife attacks this year, with a disproportionate number concentrated in London.
- The scale of knife attacks is largely hidden given the focus on deaths alone with less attention being paid to those who are injured as a result of knife crime.
- Whilst the Metropolitan police’s ‘Operation Sceptre’ initiative to crack down on knife crime is welcome, it does not look at the reasons why young people carry knives.
Conference believes that:
- The number of people, and particularly young people, who are now victims and at risk of knife and gun crime is of growing concern and must be responded to more urgently and effectively.
- Gun and knife crime must be a priority concern of central and local government, the police and communities nationwide.
- The roots of gun and knife crime are complex, with socioeconomic factors as well as simple criminality playing a role, which means broader social problems must also be addressed.
- As with many types of crime, the most effective approaches involve working with a number of people and agencies and with many diverse communities.
- A return to overly-broad stop and search techniques risks damaging community relations and threatens the likliehood of successful intelligence-led interventions. Conference calls for:
- Individuals and groups to work more closely together with police, churches, mosques and other faith groups, particularly to engage with 16–25 year olds.
- The promotion and proper funding of community led approaches, working with charities such as Redthread and GAV (Growing Against Violence).
- The establishment of mentoring schemes and conflict prevention and mediation training for all students before they leave full-time education.
- Regular amnesties to provide a safe time to turn over guns and knives.
- Additional funding of local police forces to restore community policing which is the best source of intelligence that could be used to target stop and search more accurately.