Rishi Sunak gives heartfelt message to families affected by knife crime after fatal Hexham stabbing

Credit -PA
Mr Sunak spoke in the North East just days after Northumberland teenager Holly Newton, died in a suspected stabbing. Credit: PA

Rishi Sunak has told families affected by knife crime that his "heart goes out to them."

Speaking in Darlington on Monday 30 January, Mr Sunak was asked about what the government was doing to tackle knife crime in the region and what he would say to the families affected, following a number of incidents in the last few years.

The Prime Minister responded: "My heart goes out to them, it's tragic.

"I have two young kids, and I can't imagine one of my kids or any young person losing their life in that way, it's awful."

His response comes just days after the death of a teenager in Northumberland from a suspected stabbing.

Holly Newton, from Haltwhistledied from injuries sustained in a suspected assault on the evening of Friday 27 January.

Despite the best efforts of medical staff, Holly died of her injuries in hospital. A boy who was also injured remains in a stable condition in hospital.

Mr Sunak said there were a number of things which could help prevent such incidents happening again in the future.

The include increasing the number of police officers, widening stop and search measures and investing in deterrents like CCTV.

He said: "It's about putting more police officers on the street, and that's part of our commitment to putting 20,000 more police officers across the country. We're already three-quarters of the way through.

"It's also about giving the police the powers they need. When it comes to knife crime, stop and search is quite an important tool that the police have in order to prevent knife crime from happening.

"We as a government changed the rules around that to make it easier for the police to use stop and search."

He also stressed the importance of tackling violence against women and girls, saying it was "really important" to him as he has two young daughters.

Mr Sunak said: "For far too long, too many women and too many girls have not felt as safe as they need to be, deserve to be, should be and we've got to do a better job of that.

"We're putting investment into the North East to help improve things like street lighting, and CCTV making it feel safer when you walk around in the evening."

During the speech Mr Sunak said the government was working hard to change its approach to rape, sexual violence, and domestic abuse; something he believes has not been done properly in the past.

He said: "We're in the process of improving, that's really important and you should hold me to account for that."

Returning to the death of Holly Newton, Mr Sunak added: "The tragedy shows us that we have work to do, and we'll keep at it until we get it done."

"I want all of you to be able to walk around and feel safe, and when things don't go right that justice happens and, that it happens quickly."

Mr Sunak was speaking at a question and answer session at Teesside University's National Horizons Centre in Darlington.

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