The daughter of a victim of knife crime has told a gathering of senior leaders, including the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, of the devastating impact of her father’s murder.
Tasmin McGuigan, whose father was murdered a decade ago, read out her poem titled ‘Seventeen’, at a Home Office event aimed at bringing local partners together to take action against serious violence in communities.
The event was one of many events across England, it highlighted the national and regional support available, discussed local action already underway and spotted new opportunities to work together to tackle serious violence.
Partners from police, health, education, social services, youth offending services, housing, local authorities and the voluntary sector attended.
It follows the Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s announcement of a new package of measures to tackle violent crime including a consultation on a new legal duty to underpin a ‘public health’ approach, a £200 million youth endowment fund, and a review into middle-class drug use.
Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire recently visited Glasgow to look at the successful implementation of a Serious Violence Reduction Unit in the city over ten years ago and the success the scheme has had in reducing the number of shootings and stabbings.
“The public health approach treats violent crime as if it were a disease. The way to stop a disease spreading is by tacking the causes, not just dealing with those already infected. It’s about prevention as much as cure.
“The lesson of this approach is that if you are going to get to the roots of why people get caught up in violence and keep them away from it, you need a range of partners to help, not just the police.
“If organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors work together to tackle such issues as domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, the lack of youth activities and opportunities at an early stage, and provide the right level of support and advice for families, I believe many young people can be steered away from a life involving serious violence.
“The government has recognised the need for funding to tackle these issues, though that funding will need to be sustained over future years.
“We are determined to make a difference and see a serious reduction in violent crime across South Yorkshire.”
The event, held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, was organised by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for West Yorkshire, in conjunction with the Home Office.
As well as Dr Billings, speakers at the event included Chief Superintendent Una Jennings, from South Yorkshire Police, Nick Hunt, Head of the Serious Violence Unit at the Home Office, Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire and Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability.