TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The average council has reduced spending on services such as social clubs and youth workers by 40 per cent, and some places have seen funding plummet by 91 per cent in three years.
Analysis by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Knife Crime found that the areas suffering the largest cuts to youth spending have seen bigger increases in knife crime.
Chair Sarah Jones said: “We cannot hope to turn around the knife crime epidemic if we don’t invest in our young people. Every time I speak to young people they say the same thing: they need more positive activities, safe spaces to spend time with friends and programmes to help them grow and develop.
The City of Wolverhampton and the City of Westminster saw the biggest reductions between 2014-15 and 2017-18, with youth services slashed by 91 per cent.
They were followed by Cambridgeshire County Council and Wokingham Borough Council, with cuts of 88 per cent and 81 per cent respectively.
A 68 per cent increase in knife offences was recorded by police in England and Wales over the same period, which also saw swingeing cuts to police budgets.
Although the geographical areas covered do not directly compare to police boundaries, the analysis suggested that police forces serving councils with the biggest cuts have also seen significant increases in knife crime.
Since 2013-14, knife crime offences recorded by Thames Valley Police – which covers Wokingham – have almost doubled, while the figure has risen by 95 per cent for Cambridgeshire Police, 87 per cent for West Midlands Police, and 47 per cent for the Metropolitan Police.
knife crime across England and Wales hit a new record of 40,800 in 2018, and homicides are at the highest level for more than a decade.