Wolverhampton MP Questions PM Over West Midlands Knife Crime
13 March 2019, 15:00 | Updated: 13 March 2019, 15:09
Nearly 700 children were attacked or threatened with knives last year in the West Midlands, an MP has told the Prime Minister.
Speaking at PMQs, Labour MP Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East) asked if Theresa May was "the last person standing" to deny a link between rising knife crime and policing cuts.
Former shadow communities secretary Ms Reynolds said police officers had drawn a direct link between Mrs May's decisions as home secretary to axe 20,000 officers and the current knife crime crisis.
"Last year 690 children were attacked or threatened with a knife in the West Midlands," she said.
"Parents are terrified - police officers across the country agree there is a link between the knife crime epidemic and and the Prime Minister's decision as home secretary to cut 20,000 police officers from our streets.
"Is she the last person standing to deny that link?"
Mrs May said more funding was going into tackling knife crime and Home Secretary Sajid Javid met the chief constable of West Midlands Police last week.
She said: "Yes, there were some difficult decisions in terms of public sector funding but they were taken because of the appalling set of circumstances in the economy left by Labour."
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell (Romford) warned about "soft sentencing" after passing on his condolences to the families of recent victims of knife crime.
He said: "When two-thirds of those carrying a knife escape custodial sentence and when one-in-five repeat offenders avoid prison, what assurances will the Prime Minister give that we're serious about getting tough on knife crime?
"And does she understand why so many people are fed up with soft sentencing?"
Mrs May said judges must have the powers they need to impose tough sentences on those involved in serious violence and knife crime, adding: "The law already provides for a mandatory prison sentence for a second offence of carrying a knife, and conviction of a knife or offensive weapon offence is now more likely to result in some form of custodial sentence and for longer than at any point in the last 10 years.
"Individual sentencing decisions are a matter for the courts but we are catching and prosecuting more people who carry a knife.
"Those who are convicted are more likely to go to prison and for longer."
She added she is working with Mr Javid to see what more they can do.