The Sharp Edge

Posted On 15 Mar 2019
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Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk Xtra

Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk Xtra

Home Secretary Sajid Javid recently chaired a meeting with police leaders from across the country to discuss what more can be done to tackle the scourge of serious violence. Chief constables from the seven forces which have witnessed the highest levels of serious violence convened alongside Sara Thornton (chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council), Lynne Owens (director general of the National Crime Agency) and Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Cressida Dick.

The Home Secretary was swift to praise what he described as the “incredible” work police forces are transacting in the fight against knife crime and, indeed, the ongoing commitment of the officers involved. Javid also discussed actions that the Government is taking through its Serious Violence Strategy.

The meeting heard the short-term operational moves being actioned by police forces at both a regional and national level. The latest crime statistics were aired. Officers also focused on the issues of policing resources and the use of Stop and Search.

In October last year, the Home Secretary announced measures including a new £200 million Youth Endowment Fund, an independent review of drugs misuse and a consultation on a new legal duty to underpin a multi-agency preventative or ‘public health’-focused approach towards tackling serious violence.

In addition, this year and into 2020, total police funding will increase by a figure of up to £970 million including the Council Tax precept. This represents the biggest rise since 2010 and will hopefully enable the police service to continue recruiting and fill crucial capability gaps in, for example, detective roles.

“It’s not just about law enforcement,” commented Javid. “That’s a huge part of the picture, of course, but tackling serious violence is also about early intervention and how we stop people from turning towards crime. That’s concerned with working across Government and public bodies.”

Police chiefs have echoed Javid’s sentiment that the solution isn’t solely about policing. What, then, is the wider answer?

According to police chiefs, violent crime must be treated as a national emergency. This requires emergency funding which would see the police intensify operational activities in affected areas. Current tactics work, but the challenge is having enough officers to adopt them. Emergency monies could be used to pay for officer overtime and facilitate mutual aid whereby officers are moved around the country to where the problems are greatest.

Policing budgets are growing. However, police chiefs are adamant that this isn’t enough and that continued long-term funding is going to be absolutely necessary.

Those same chief constables are concerned about the levels of school exclusions, with around 40 permanent exclusions ratified every day in 2016-2017, many children attending pupil referral units for just one hour each week and unchallenged truancy taking place. These children are at risk of becoming involved in violent crime, either as the perpetrators or the victims.

Clearly, it’s now more important than ever that a genuinely cohesive response is actively fostered across law enforcement, Government, education, health and the social services sector.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.