Sajid Javid outlines strategy to tackle spike in knife crime

"If there are sufficient police numbers, can the prime minister please explain why yesterday the defence secretary was offering to send in the military to assist?"

Police figures show violent crime rose by almost a fifth in the year to September 2018, intensifying the debate over whether the increase is linked to falling officer numbers.

Ahead of the meeting with Mr Javid, National Police Chiefs' Council chairwoman Sara Thornton called for "emergency funding".

The Prime Minister replied: "We are bringing together ministers, local government, police and other agencies - this needs to be a cross society approach in terms of dealing with this issue, because it's not just about catching the perpetrators of the crime, it's about preventing the crime from taking place in the first place".

She was pronounced dead just over an hour after officers were called to the park at 9.25pm on Friday.

In a statement on Sunday, her uncle, Dave Chesney, said "we are all devastated" and added it was a "totally random and unprovoked attack".

Seventeen-year-olds Jodie Chesney, who was a scout, and Yousef Ghaleb Makki died at the hands of knife attackers in separate incidents over the weekend.

Jodie's grandmother, Debbie Chesney, wrote on Facebook: "We don't want anyone else to go through what our family is suffering right now".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph ahead of the summit, Mr Javid said he would be open to suggestions for improving the official response to what he described as "a disease, spreading through our communities, infecting our young people, taking and blighting lives".

In Lancashire, six people have been arrested over a gang attack at a sixth form college.

May, a former interior minister, said more must be done to tackle the causes of violence and promised to meet victims but declined to say whether there would be an increase in spending on police.

"But I think that what we all agree on is that in the last few ye ars police officer numbers have gone down a lot, there's been a lot of other cuts in public services, there has been more demand for policing and therefore there must be something and I have consistently said that".

Evidence suggests the way to stop young people being stabbed does not lie exclusively with the criminal justice system.

"And I'm afraid that's been demonstrated year after year, back when the prime minister was home secretary".

Home Office statistics show the number of police officers fell from their peak of 144,353 in 2009 to 122,404 in March 2018.

But Donna Murray-Turner, who chairs the Croydon Safer Neighbourhood Board, does not believe more police officers will solve the issue.

Senior officers from seven of the forces most affected by violent crime - the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, South Wales, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire - will attend a meeting today.

  • Rogelio Becker