Partnership gives blessing to new group's focus on knife crime and youth violence in Milton Keynes
A community safety partnership has given its blessing to a new group that is being set up to find ways to spend £100,000 on tackling knife violence in Milton Keynes.
The serious knife violence task and finish group will be chaired by Cllr Lauren Townsend (Lab, Bletchley West) with the aim of holding three meetings between February and April.
“I attended the funeral in Heelands on Saturday of one of the five young men who has been killed in the last five months,” said Cllr Robin Bradburn (Lib Dem, Bradwell), at a meeting of the SaferMK Partnership on Thursday.
“There were a mass of people who attended, the turn out was quite amazing. We owe it to the people of MK to take actions.”
The new group won’t have decision-making power but will be able to recommend action to the council’s all powerful cabinet, after listening to evidence from expert witnesses.
The Labour leadership of the council has put aside £100,000 for the budget in 2020-21 and it could be used to pay for recommendations made by the group.
The deputy police commander for Milton Keynes, Kelly Gardner, said the fact that MK has seen five young men die in five months made it vital that everyone pulls together.
“I think it’s a great initiative,” she said.
Cllr Keith McLean (Cons, Olney) added that the council’s Conservative group also supported the move despite doubts about how the budget of £100,000 had been set.
Other members of the community safety partnership board, which includes representatives of the police, probation, and the fire service, were concerned that the new group might duplicate work already being carried out.
Thames Valley Police have also set up groups of officers to respond to a 10 per cent increase in knife crimes across the city.
Other members of the partnership wanted to see the membership of the group expanded to include young people, parents, and people who have turned their lives around.
Council chief executive Michael Bracey told the committee that the group will explore measures that weren’t already happening, with a focus on “redoubling efforts” to prevent knife violence.
He said: “The leader of the council wanted to set up a group to focus on this issue, but for the work to be connected to the SaferMK partnership.”
The committee agreed to give its blessing to the new task and finish group.
The £100,000 is subject to ratification through the council’s budget-setting process.