Treat knife crime like a disease: Sajid Javid

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LONDON: Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called for knife crime to be treated “like a disease” after meeting police chiefs from seven forces most affected by violent crime. The home secretary said he wanted a “legal duty” on government departments to help prevent serious violence.

Both police funding and stop-and-search powers were discussed in Wednesday’s meeting, Mr Javid said. He added: “I want serious violence to be treated by all parts of government, all parts of the public sector, like a disease and I want us to tackle it the same way – everyone would come together.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said there was “obviously” a link between violent crime and falling police numbers.

When asked for his view on the matter, Mr Javid said it was important to “always make sure the police have the resources they need”, adding: “We have to listen to them when they talk about resources.”

Senior officers from the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, South Wales, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire attended the meeting, as did representatives of the National Crime Agency and National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would host a summit “in the coming days” to tackle knife crime.

Chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Sara Thornton said the discussions had been “really constructive “and highlighted the need for extra police officers. “We’ve agreed that by the end of the week we’ll set out the scale of the investment required,” she said.

Durham’s Chief Constable, Mike Barton, said he was “heartened” by the meeting while the chief constable of Merseyside Police said the talks were “very good”.