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Home Secretary Unveils New Violent Crime Strategy

Home Secretary Unveils New Violent Crime Strategy

Violent crime in England and Wales

The government is expected to move forward with rigorous new strategies for handling violent crime, after Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced plans to tackle “the scourge of violent crime” with “all the tools at the government’s disposal.”

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, Mr. Javid confirmed plans to consult on whether more legal responsibility should be placed on local authorities to tackle the root causes of crime in their areas. In addition, the Home Secretary announced that a new £200m endowment fund would be established to guide young people away from the path of criminal activity.

Prominent amongst the plans is a key aim of clamping down on the UK’s illegal drug industry, both as an end in itself and to “strengthen” the government’s “ability to target and prevent the root causes of criminal behaviour.”

Drug trade has been closely linked by analysts to the rise of violent crime across Britain. A review of nationwide drug use will be conducted in order to determine the factors behind current trends and shifts in the drug market. The review will consider the demographic of drug users and dealers in Britain to investigate the socio-economic factors behind the drug trade and the ways in which these may be tackled.

Drug crime clampdowns proposed government-wide

One result of the government’s recalibrated focus on violent crimes may be that middle-class drug users and recreational, professional users may be more robustly targeted by police and confronted with the knock-on effects of their habits.

Consultations will consider whether the upward trend in higher earners and professionals using Class A drugs like cocaine recreationally has aggravated gang warfare between drug dealers or encouraged child exploitation by drug-dealing networks using children to courier drugs across so-called county lines.

Britain’s illicit drug industry appears to be due for a clampdown across the board from the government, with the Department of Justice also announcing plans this year to target the drug trade as a cause and catalyst of issues within the justice system.

Also speaking at the Conservative Party conference, Justice Secretary David Gauke unveiled plans to set up a new financial crime unit aimed at undermining drug kingpins.

The Prisons and Probation Service financial crime unit will work to seize the assets of wealthy drug dealers and disrupt the trade of drugs in prisons. Introducing the measure, Mr. Gauke stated: “My message to kingpins is this: we are already blocking your phones, putting you in isolation and now we will make sure you can’t access your money.”

“Public health” approach to crime prevention championed

Criminal justice consultant and former Downing Street advisor Tom Gash termed the proposals as “interesting,” praising the government’s “creative” approach of “tackling the root causes of violence.”

The government’s “public health” approach to crime prevention has cross-party appeal, with London Mayor and Labour politician Sadiq Khan launching a similar strategy to reduce violent crime by targeting drug trade in September.

Murder rates in London, in particular, saw a dramatic upsurge in the first three months of 2018, increasing 80% from the same period in 2017.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has however criticised the government’s new approach, arguing that “yet another consultation” would not remedy the impact of eight years of austerity measures on Britain’s justice system.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan himself accepted that the more longsighted approach to tackling violent crime exhibited by both his policy and that of the government would “not deliver results overnight.” Unveiling the capital’s new Violence Reduction Unit, Mr. Khan warned: “The causes of violent crime are many years in the making and the solutions will take time.”

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