Govt 'cannot bury head in the sand' amid crime surge

By Greg Heffer, Political Reporter
Forty-seven London MPs have written to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to condemn this year's violence in the capital as "neither acceptable nor inevitable".
The group of Labour MPs, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, are demanding action from Government "to stop violence becoming normalised" in London as they draw a direct link between austerity and rising crime.Since the turn of the year, Sky News has identified 51 people who are suspected to have been deliberately killed in the capital amid a spate of stabbings and shootings.If the violence continues at the same rate, the level of murder investigations will far outstrip the figure for 2017, when 130 were launched.On Thursday, six teenagers were taken to hospital after being stabbed during another night of violence in London.
Along with London MPs, including @jeremycorbyn @HackneyAbbott and Shadow Education Secretary @AngelaRayner, I’ve written to @theresa_may and @AmberRuddHR seeking an urgent meeting with London MPs and @SadiqKhan about violent crime. Londoners, especially young people, need action.— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) April 6, 2018
The growing bloodshed has piled pressure on police and politicians to deal with the issue, with the group of MPs adding their voice to calls for urgent action, as they said: "Communities are crying out for national leadership".Organised by Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, the letter calls for an emergency meeting between the London MPs, the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.Signatories to the letter include Mr Corbyn, as well as shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, shadow chancellor John McDonnell, and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry.They wrote: "In recent weeks we have seen too many lives lost on the streets of London to guns and knives."This is neither acceptable nor inevitable. More must be done to tackle both crime, and the root causes of crime."The MPs claim the Government "cannot bury their heads in the sand" as they listed a number of factors for the rise in violence.Government cuts of €1bn have put "in jeopardy" the police's ability to "provide reassurance to communities, do the necessary prevention work and catch those who commit crimes", the letter states.:: Analysis: Crime is rising up the political agenda
Govt 'cannot bury head in the sand' amid crime surge

Abbott asked: Where is Sadiq Khan?
The MPs claim prisons and probation services are "in chaos" meaning "criminals are leaving violent and crime-ridden jails unreformed", while local services such as schools, the NHS, mental health services and youth projects "have been cut to the bone after eight years of austerity".
They also want ministers to put more pressure on social media companies to take down videos and posts that are "glorifying and amplifying violence".The MPs accuse the Government of having failed to react to the "debate about the levels of inequality, poverty and deprivation" in London that resulted from the 2011 riots in the city.On Thursday, the Mayor of London described himself as "angered and heartbroken" by the violence in the capital, as he responded to criticism he had kept too low a profile amid the growing number of deaths.He admitted he is yet to meet any of the bereaved families of recent murder victims.But, the group of Labour MPs defended Mr Khan from blame for the violence, claiming both "he, and the whole city, desperately needs this Government to step up to the plate".The wrote: "Ministers cannot just blame the Mayor of London and pretend Government has no responsibility."The spate of violence in London comes ahead of key local elections next month, with the Conservative Party reported to be fearing a disastrous result as all 32 London boroughs head to the polls.Sky News understands Home Secretary Amber Rudd hosted a round table meeting on knife crime on 14 March, which was attended by Mr Khan, Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick and other senior police officers.At the routine meeting, which was used to inform ongoing work, Ms Rudd offered a one-to-one meeting with Mr Khan, a Home Office source revealed.She has now recently reiterated that offer, Sky News has been told.
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A Downing Street spokesperson said earlier this week that the Government is '"determined to break the cycle", including by introducing new legislation to prevent online sales of offensive weapons."The Government will do all it can to support police, PCCs and mayors to break the cycle of violence."
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