Serious youth violence at highest level in three years for West Midlands

Serious youth violence in the West Midlands is at its highest level in almost three years, new figures show.

Youth violence has peaked in the West Midlands
Youth violence has peaked in the West Midlands

Figures released by West Midlands Police show that for under 25s, the number of incidents involving crimes such as robbery, violent attacks and knife crime hit a peak of more than 900 in June.

This is the highest level since the force started keeping records for serious youth violence in January 2020, and is also up 29 per cent on April's figure of around 700.

Over the last year robbery has gone up by 4.5 per cent, with 1,361 incidents recorded. Violence with injury has increased by 8.6 per cent to 3,873, and there were 31 cases of attempted murder – a 3.3 per cent rise.

The number of violent attacks where a knife was used fell by 2.6 per cent to 186. WMP says it has prioritised tackling youth violence through Project Guardian and its Violence Reduction Partnership.

However, a report to the Police and Crime Commissioner's strategic board says there are fears that the cost of living crisis "may exacerbate youth violence".

PCC Simon Foster said the rise in violent crime had "undoubtedly" been influenced by "reckless" cuts to police budgets.

He said: "The prevention and reduction of violent crime is a top priority for me in my police and crime plan.

"We need robust, operational policing to prevent and tackle violent crime, particularly in relation to those people who are intent on causing harm to others.

"However, policing cannot prevent and tackle violent crime on its own. We also need prevention, early intervention and to address the underlying causes of crime."

He said the region's Violence Reduction Partnership had brought together partners and agencies that were committed to preventing and reducing violent crime, while the force was also working in schools and A&E departments and had staff supporting victims of county lines.

He pledged "constant and unremitting action to prevent and reduce violence, protect people – in particular our young people – and most importantly of all to save lives".

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