Violent crime task force visits Birmingham

A task force from the London Assembly is to travel to Birmingham on a fact-finding mission in a bid to tackle violent crime in the capital.  

The officials will spend Friday 7th September meeting with the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, senior officers at West Midlands Police and the author of the recent report on gangs and violence. 

The members of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee are heading to the second city because London, like the West Midlands, has seen a recent surge in violent crime.

They are particularly interested in hearing more about a West Midlands scheme which educates young people about the dangers of carrying a knife.

They have also indicated they're keen to learn more about initiatives which divert youngsters away from crime and into training or jobs.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has been particularly keen to combine a robust police response with treating and providing support for those who want to reverse the cycle of crime.

The West Midlands has borrowed ideas from the capital too. We now have youth workers in A&E units in Birmingham who are placed there to trace people caught up in violent crime. After identifying the individuals they then provide support and guidance before they discharged. That scheme has been running for some time in London.

The PCC has pledged he'll spend £2 million tackling gangs and violence over the next two years. Some of that money will be spent on gang mentors who will be used to deescalate violence.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: "I'm pleased to welcome the team from London.

"We are both battling a similar problem. Knife crime in the West Midlands has almost doubled since 2014.

"We believe that to tackle violent crime you need to tackle the causes including the market for drugs, unemployment and education.

"If there is any information or methods of tackling violent crime which we can share then I will be more than happy to do so."

The London Assembly Police and Crime Committee is currently investigating the rise of violent crime in the capital and wants answers to why this upsurge is happening, whether policing tactics are working and what can be done to keep Londoners safe.