Securing a brighter future: the role of youth services in tackling knife crime

Type Policy and research document

Published on
1 March 2020

Knife crime has reached a record high. Offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose by 7 per cent in the year to September 2019 to 44,771. This latest rise means that the number of incidents recorded by police has increased by almost half in the eight years since comparable records began. Particularly concerning is the rise in the number of young people who are carrying knives. More than 17,500 boys aged 14 reported ever having carried a knife or weapon in England and Wales; a third of those arming themselves have had weapons used against them.

During 2019, the APPG on Knife Crime conducted a short inquiry into youth services and the role youth work has in tackling serious youth violence. The aim was to answer three main questions:

  1. What do young people want from youth services?
  2. What does effective youth work look like for children and young people today?
  3. What role do youth services have in helping to tackle knife crime and serious youth violence?

This paper provides a summary of the APPG's findings and four recommendations for the Government to improve the quality and availability of youth services. Together, these should ensure youth workers are able to have an effective role in the multi-agency response needed to keep vulnerable children and young people safe from knife crime.