Sajid Javid says police resources 'very important' in tackling knife crime after meeting with police chiefs

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said police resources are "very important" in dealing with knife crime following a meeting with senior officers from seven of the forces most affected by violent crime.

His comments come as Prime Minister Theresa May dismissed claims that increasing police numbers would help solve the knife crime.

Senior officers from the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, South Wales, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire attended Wednesday’s meeting.

They are set to outline the "scale of investment" they will require by the end of the week.

Expressing support for more police resources Mr Javid said: "I think police resources are very important to deal with this.

"We've got to everything we can, I'm absolutely committed to working with the police in doing this.

"And we have to listen to them when they talk about resources."

Mrs May addressed the issue of knife crime in her opening statement for Prime Minister's Questions

She said: "Mr Speaker the death of anyone through the act of violence is an appalling tragedy, a growing number of young people have lost their lives in the cycle of mindless violence that has shocked us all.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims."

She added: "The responsibility of all these crimes lies with the perpetrators of all of them but we must all do more to ensure that justice is served and to tackle the root causes of this violence so that we can bring it to an end and ensure the safety of our young people."

Mrs May said she will be holding a summit at Number 10 in the coming days to bring together communities, ministers and will also be meeting with the victims of these crimes to tackle this problem.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hit back at Mrs May and said she was not doing enough to tackle the "root cause" of the rise in knife crime.

He said: "The public services that were there for youth services have been systematically stripped away and everyone can see the consequences of that.

"Can the Prime Minister not recognise there has to be a holistic response to this? We cannot keep communities safe on the cheap by cuts and privatisation, you have to invest in all of our communities in every part of this country. "

He pointed to the recent deaths of 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney and Yousef Makki, and said there were 285 people stabbed to death last year, the "highest level ever".

Speaking after a meeting with the home secretary, Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council linked the fall in police officers to rising crime.

She said: "What I've said is that there are fewer officers therefore there is less policing going on and there's more crime."

She added: "It's not the only thing that's going on but it's part of the equation."

A string of fatal teen stabbings have sparked a heated debate over police officer numbers in England and Wales, which have dropped by more than 20,000 since 2010.

The most recent deaths have seen 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney, who was a scout, and Yousef Ghaleb Makki die at the hands of knife attackers.