Move resources you already have on to knife crime, Chancellor tells police

Police must shift the resources they already have into tackling a surge in knife crime rather than expect more funding, the Chancellor has said.

Philip Hammond said police forces need to move officers off “lower priority” crime and onto knife violence.

His comments came after another knife murder in London on Wednesday and the death in hospital of a man who was stabbed in Oxford last week.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Hammond also suggested there would be more money for public services if MPs voted for the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.

“What we need to see now is a surging of resources from other areas of policing activity into dealing with this spike in knife crime,” he told the Today programme.

“And that’s what you do in any organisation when you get a specific problem occurring in one area of the operation – you move resources to deal with that.

“And what the public will want to know is that this Friday night and this Saturday night there are going to be more police officers focused on dealing with knife crime, and that means necessarily fewer police officers that will be dealing with other lower priority areas of activity.”

He added: “If we get the right Brexit deal done, and a smooth exit from the European Union so that we can release the money that we’ve set aside to deal with the possible disruption of a no-deal exit, then that will give us more money still that we can put into public services over the next three years.”

The Chancellor insisted police budgets were rising, and said knife crime is “an immediate problem, you cannot solve it by recruiting and training more officers – that takes time”.

A 22-year-old man knifed in Oxford on February 27 died in hospital last night, and a man was stabbed to death in Leyton, east London.

West Midlands Police are also investigating whether knives were used in an incident at Matthew Boulton College in Birmingham on Wednesday afternoon, which left two teenagers in hospital.

It can't be right so many young people who've committed offences have been excluded from school.

I'm calling on the PM to act urgently & give local authorities & schools the power & resources to properly support vulnerable children at risk of

— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 7, 2019

Meanwhile, London mayor Sadiq Khan and seven police and crime commissioners sent a letter to the Prime Minister on Thursday warning a “broken” school exclusion system is exacerbating the surge.

“It cannot be right that so many of those who have committed offences have been excluded from school or were outside of mainstream education,” it said.