Violence should be treated as a contagious disease, says Sajid Javid as study links school exclusions to rising gang crime

Home secretary will announce new £200m fund to target crime 'hotspots'

Peter Stubley
Saturday 29 September 2018 00:33
The plans are due to be announced by Sajid Javid at the Tory party conference next week
The plans are due to be announced by Sajid Javid at the Tory party conference next week

Sajid Javid is set to back the adoption of a “public health approach” to crime which will see violence treated as a contagious disease, according to reports.

The home secretary will make the announcement at the Conservative party conference in a bid to tackle the rising number of stabbings and shootings across England and Wales, it is claimed.

He is to establish a £200m youth endowment fund and and launch a consultation on giving police officers, teachers, social service workers and council officials a new legal duty to work together ot tackle violent crime, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The “public health approach” to violence was pioneered in Chicago in the US in 2000 and has been successfully used in Scotland for more than a decade.

It involves identifying young people who are in danger of becoming involved in crime using “risk factors” such as truancy, school exclusion, domestic violence and gang membership.

The number of school exclusions are a “highly significant” factor in the rise of gang-related violence, according to a study seen by The Times ahead of its publication on Monday.

It suggests that vulnerable children who have been excluded and sent to pupil referral units are deliberately targeted and groomed by drugs gangs.

School exclusions have increased since 2014, with a total of 7,720 exclusions in the academic year ending in 2017, up from 6,685 the previous year, according to Department of Education statistics.

The announcement of £200m in new funding, spread over ten years, comes just five months after Amber Rudd launched the two-year £40m Serious Violence Strategy, including an £11m “Early Intervention Youth Fund”.

Violent crime has increased sharply in England and Wales at the same time as the number of police officers has hit a record low.

The latest statistics revealed a 12 per cent rise in the number of homicides, a 16 per cent increase in knife crime and a 30 per cent increase in robbery.

There have been more than 100 murders in London so far this year, with a third of the victims aged between 16 and 24.

Earlier this month London mayor Sadiq Khan announced the establishment of a new Violence Reduction Unit in the capital, modelled on the Glasgow programme.

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