The Liberal Democrats have announced they would more than double spending on youth services in Birmingham, to £12.5 million, to help tackle rising levels of crime/knife crime. This would form part of a total ring-fenced fund of £500 million for Local Authorities across England to spend on youth services, providing young people with positive, safe and healthy alternatives to gangs.
Spending on youth services has been cut whilst knife crime has risen.
The Liberal Democrats would also take a public health approach to tackling youth violence, modelled on the successful approach taken by Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit. This would involve identifying risk factors and treating them early on, with youth workers, police, teachers, health professionals and social services all working closely together to prevent young people falling into gangs and violence.
Liberal Democrat candidate for Birmingham Ladywood, Lee Dargue, said:
“Birmingham Ladywood has seen increased instances of crime, and too many people in the area feel unsafe walking down some of our streets, which can include our young people.
“Labour and Conservatives have spent too long competing to seem ‘tough on crime’. This top-down, authoritarian, sabre-rattling approach may sound good on a leaflet, but it simply doesn’t help in reality and leads to our communities getting less safe.
“Stop and Search, for example, is often claimed to be the solution. But the evidence is clear – the higher the stop and search usage, the more racial bias occurs, especially around suspicion of drug possession.
“We need an evidence-based, public health approach to these issues, that see young people as what they really are – part of our communities.
“Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for young people by doubling spending on youth services in Birmingham.
“With a Liberal Democrat government, young people will have the support and opportunities they deserve, our local communities will be stronger and people here will feel safer.”