Murders of young people ‘can’t go on’, says Home Secretary

A spate of teenagers being stabbed to death across the country has led the Home Secretary to call for an end to the “senseless violence”.

Sajid Javid said the Home Office was taking action to tackle crime, including meeting police chiefs to discuss what more can be done.

His comments on Sunday came in the wake of a number of teenagers being stabbed to death across the country, including a 17-year-old girl in London and a boy, also aged 17, in a village near Manchester.

Sajid Javid comments
Home Secretary Sajid Javid calls for end to “senseless violence” (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Mr Javid said: “Young people are being murdered across the country and it can’t go on.

“We’re taking action on many fronts and I’ll be meeting police chiefs this week to hear what more can be done.

“It is vital that we unite to stop this senseless violence.”

The Home Office said Mr Javid will chair the second chief constables’ round table on Wednesday, aimed at sharing experience and policing strategies for tackling violent crime.

A 17-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in the village of Hale Barns, near Altrincham, on Saturday night was named by police as Yousef Ghaleb Makki.

His death follows the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney in an east London park on Friday night in what her family branded a “totally random and unprovoked attack”.

Jodie was the 18th homicide in the capital in 2019, a total that now stands at 20.

Their deaths follow three teenagers dying in knife attacks in two weeks in Birmingham, leading to West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson branding it a “national emergency”.

Hazrat Umar, 17, was killed in Bordesley Green on Monday; Abdullah Muhammad, 16, died in Small Heath the previous week, and seven days earlier Sidali Mohamed, 16, was stabbed outside a college in Highgate.

Devastated by the fatal stabbing of a 17 year-old girl in Havering. My thoughts are with her loved ones.

It fills me with anger that violent criminals are targeting young Londoners with their whole lives before them. I encourage anyone with information to contact the police. https://t.co/Ipzivn0qFK

— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 2, 2019

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted on Saturday of his upset at the death of Jodie.

He added: “Devastated by the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old girl in Havering. My thoughts are with her loved ones.

“It fills me with anger that violent criminals are targeting young Londoners with their whole lives before them. I encourage anyone with information to contact the police.”

Mr Khan set up a violent crime reduction unit last year in a bid to prevent the spread of violent crime in London.

The Home Office said it set out a range of actions to tackle violent crime in October including a £200 million youth endowment fund; consulting on a on new legal duty to underpin a public health approach to tackling serious violence, and an independent review of drug misuse.

It said an extra £970 million in police funding is proposed in the funding settlement for 2019-20 and added that the offensive weapons bill currently before Parliament will introduce new offences to tackle knife crime and acid attacks.

The Home Office also said the serious violence taskforce, chaired by the Home Secretary and including other ministers, MPs, police leaders and the London Mayor, meets regularly to oversee and drive delivery of the serious violence strategy.

The strategy, published last year, focuses on steering young people away from a life of crime, while continuing to promote a strong law enforcement response, it added.

This includes the £22 million early intervention youth fund a new £3.6 million National Police Chiefs Council/National Crime Agency led National County Lines Coordination Centre on 21 September 2018.