Two more cops to go into Milton Keynes schools as £100,000 extra is earmarked for future anti knife crime projects

Two more police officers will be recruited to work in schools in Milton Keynes as the council also ramps up other efforts to tackle knife crime and youth violence.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 6:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 2:35 pm

A councillor this week decided to release £80,000 from Milton Keynes Council’s contingency funds to help pay for the officers from this April to March 2022.

Thames Valley Police, which already has two dedicated schools officers working in the city, has chipped in another £80,000 to pay for the £160,000 scheme.

“Kids are being groomed and being brought into criminal activity by older people,” said Cllr Hannah O’Neill (Lab Woughton & Fishermead). “This is about having more pairs of eyes in schools to see what’s happening, and it is a really positive item.”

The budget and resources scrutiny committee in action

Cllr O’Neill said it is about early intervention to nip problems in the bud.

Sarah Gonsalves, the council’s director of policy, insight and communications, said schools have been positive about having the officers spending time with them.

Following on from the delegated decisions meeting on Tuesday (Jan 21), Cllr O’Neill was later quizzed by a scrutiny committee on the council setting aside another £100,000 to tackle knife crime.

A cross-party MK Knife Crime and Youth Violence Task Force, which was set up in October, is due to report back to the council in March.

The task force recommendations have not yet been announced but the budget and resources scrutiny committee heard that Milton Keynes Council’s Labour leadership wants to be ready to go.

Cllr Peter Geary (Cons, Olney) queried how the £100,000 figure had been decided.

“I am trying to understand the thoughts of the cabinet,” he said. “You have £100,000 for clearance of vegetation – why not £50,000 so you can have £50,000 more?”

Cllr O’Neill said the council wanted to get the basics right so they need to invest in those areas, too.

“There are lots of pulls on the budget but limited amounts of money. We are making sure all get covered,” she said.

“Not all people are coming across knife crime so we’re trying to be as fair as possible across the system.

“£100,000 is a starting point. It won’t cover everything but will help us find schemes that work.

“We don’t know what’s going to work yet, that’s why we are doing a pilot.”