Grassroots initiatives are key to solving Britain's knife crime problem - bishop

(Photo: Parliament Live TV)The Bishop of St Albans addressing the House of Lords

The Bishop of St Albans has urged the Government to fund grassroots initiatives as part of its strategy to tackle Britain's knife crime problem.

The Right Reverend Alan Smith's appeal in the House of Lords follows the release of alarming figures showing a 16 per cent rise in knife offences between March 2017 and March 2018.

The bishop said the figures revealed a need for 'more effective policing' but also for more funding for community-based initiatives.

'We also need a long-term, consistent, grassroots focus on this problem, working not just with the statutory authorities but also with the voluntary sector,' he said.

Bishop Smith has been an outspoken advocate for action to reduce knife crime in Britain.

He has previously supported calls from the family of stabbing victim Dan Baird for bleed control kits to be made more widely available.

He added that the most important thing was preventing stabbings from happening in the first place.

'We need concerted, consistent, coordinated action between statutory and voluntary services,' he said.

Last week in the House of Lords, the bishop called on the Government to take a 'long-term public health approach' to the problem and ensure that it was properly funded. 

'Behind these terrible, tragic stabbings, and the general rise in knife crime across our country — not just in London— lie countless human tragedies,' he said.

'Many families will never recover from the loss of a loved one through such a murder, and our sympathy goes out to them.'

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