Tories 'failing a generation' with 227,000 child victims of violence in a year

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Labour unearthed shocking statistics about youth violence (Image: Getty)
Labour unearthed shocking statistics about youth violence (Image: Getty)

Nearly a quarter of a million children have been victims of violence in the past year as the Tories stand accused of “failing a generation”.

Figures unearthed by Labour reveal the grim toll of knife and gun wounds inflicted on youngsters. The party's analysis of the Government’s latest crime statistics shows the number of victims of violence aged between 10 and 15 rose from 105,000 in March 2020 to 227,000 in the last year - the highest level since 2012.

The worrying surge comes amid a 57% rise in serious violence overall since 2015, and a 10% rise in the last year alone. Total homicides against those aged 16 to 24 also rocketed by 42% between 2015 and 2022, from 86 to 122.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “These shocking statistics show how badly the Tories have failed a generation of young people by refusing to get a grip on serious violence. More teenagers were victims of violence in the last year than at any other time in the last decade - that is the Conservatives’ abysmal record on law and order. This Government has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to keeping our young people safe, and it is victims, families and communities who pay the devastating price.”

Tories 'failing a generation' with 227,000 child victims of violence in a year rriddqixxiqezinvShadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper (Getty Images)

Labour was keen to stress that violent crimes against kids are not just “a London phenomenon”. It pointed to statistics showing that while 5.8% of children in London became victims of crime last year, more than double that proportion became victims in the East Midlands and the South East.

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Crime and policing is set to be a major battleground at the next election, with Ms Cooper having revived Labour’s 1997 election landslide-winning slogan to get “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”. In one of its most eye-catching policies to appeal to floating voters, the party has vowed to “halve serious violence, including incidents of knife crime, and restore confidence in the police and criminal justice system to its highest level within a decade”.

It has pledged that all local areas will have a named, contactable constable or community support officer, in a bid to restore trust in neighbourhood policing. Keir Starmer, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, has made “making Britain’s streets safe” one of his “five missions for a better Britain”.

Plans include targeting gangs who deliberately lure children and teenagers into county lines drug running and criminal activity; taking action to stop vulnerable young people being pulled into crime and gangs by putting access to mental health support workers into every school; placing youth workers in accident and emergency departments and custody suites to reach young people who are becoming involved in gangs; and tackling websites selling machetes and dangerous knives.

Ms Cooper told the Mirror: “Labour will halve serious violence, including incidents of knife crime, and restore confidence in the police and criminal justice system to its highest level within a decade.”

The Home Office did not respond to a request for comment.

However, a Conservative Party spokesman claimed: “Not only is crime over a third higher in Labour-run areas, Sir Keir Starmer consistently whips his MPs to vote against tougher sentences for rapists and murderers, as well as campaigning to keep dangerous foreign criminals in the UK.

“We’ve cut comparable crime by 50% since Labour were in power and put 20,000 more police officers on our streets - locking up dangerous criminals for longer and cracking down on local crime.”

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper writes exclusively for the Mirror

Knife crime destroys lives, devastates families and creates fear and trauma in communities.

225,000 young people were victims of violence last year - the highest that it has been for over a decade.

The Conservatives are failing a generation.

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Too many young people fear the walk home because they think they might be targeted by someone wielding a knife.

Too many young people are themselves leaving home carrying a knife.

I have met bereaved families and victims of this awful crime and seen the damage it does to communities.

Across the UK there are incredible people responding to the darkness of knife crime with a fierce determination to shine a light that helps others.

But why is the Government doing so little to help?

The Conservatives’ Serious Violence Strategy is now more than five years out of date.

Too little is being done to stop the criminal gangs drawing young people into violence, or to help young people get back on the right track.

It is still far too easy to get terrifying, dangerous blades online - including Rambo knives, Zombie knives with advertising based on horror films that sensationalises and glamorises violence.

We cannot stand for this any more.

Labour will bring in new laws to crackdown on the criminal gangs who encourage youth violence and crime.

We will make criminal exploitation of children a specific crime and close the disgraceful loophole that lets online marketplaces such as Amazon and others sell illegal knives.

We’ll bring in early intervention - including youth mentors in pupil referral units and communities, mental health professionals in schools, and much stronger, swift action when a child is found with a knife.

The mission of the next Labour Government will be to work with police, local agencies and communities, schools and families to halve this terrible youth violence, to get our kids back on track and to stop the tragic waste of young lives.

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Ben Glaze

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