Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced a new legal duty on public bodies to prevent and tackle serious violence.

Covering the police, local councils, local health bodies such as NHS Trusts, education representatives and youth offending services, this will ensure that relevant services work together to share data, intelligence and knowledge to understand and address the root causes of serious violence including knife crime.

It will also allow them to target their interventions to prevent and stop violence altogether, the Home Secretary said.

In addition, the Government will amend the Crime and Disorder Act to ensure that serious violence is an explicit priority for Community Safety Partnerships, which include local police, fire and probation services, by making sure they have a strategy in place to tackle violent crime.

This new public health duty has been created taking into account responses from professionals in health, education, police, social services, housing and the voluntary sector after an eight-week public consultation.

It will hold organisations to account as opposed to individual teachers, nurses or other frontline professionals.

It does not mean burdening them with police work, Mr Javid explained, but is designed to build on existing responsibilities and local arrangements to protect young people by ensuring different organisations work together.

He has promised that guidance will be published in due course to support the legislation, providing examples of different partnership models and explaining how different organisations and sectors can partner with each other.

Welcoming the move, Javed Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Barnardos, said: “Youth violence is an epidemic threatening our children but today’s announcement by the Home Secretary is a step in the right direction. Local agencies like schools, health services, police, local authorities and youth offending teams must work together to keep children safe.”

Last reviewed 7 August 2019