During the election I promised real action on knife crime, which rose by a staggering 94% in Croydon over the last year. The tragic death of 15-year-old Jermaine Goupall in Thornton Heath earlier this month shows how urgently we need action on this issue both in Parliament and in Croydon. That's why I'm setting up a cross-party group which will launch next month, to bring forward some new ideas and push this issue higher up the agenda in Westminster.
Meeting Reaching Higher, a community group doing fantastic work with young people in Croydon
This summer I've been working on a programme called Croydon Voice, aimed at understanding the root causes of the knife crime problem and amplifying the voice of those tackling or experiencing this issue. I've met some inspiring individuals and organisations, and I'll be bringing what I've learned back to Parliament.
Knife crime is on the rise again, and it's devastating lives. After a general downward trend since 2011, the past two years has seen a reversal. Crime figures released last month showed knife crime in at a seven-year high: a 20% rise in the past year alone.
I'm pleased to confirm that the All Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime will launch in early September. We've had a good response from MPs from across the country who recognise this is an issue we need to tackle strategically, at a national level, and across party lines. MPs from the Conservatives and Scottish National Party, along with my Labour colleagues, have all confirmed they will be involved.
This group will look to work collaboratively with other relevant parliamentary bodies exploring associated issues, such as the Youth Violence Commission, and I will be reporting back regularly on our meetings and progress. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.