Cash-strapped councils reveal deep concern over lack of funding to address violent youth crime
21 August, 2019

New Survey: As violent youth crime spirals, cash-strapped councils reveal deep concern over lack of Government funding to address the crisis.

  • A respected quarterly survey found that 75 per cent of council chiefs believe they do not have enough funding to address rising violent youth crime in their communities.
  • This figure rises significantly in urban areas, with 85 per cent of council chief executives, leaders and mayors stating that they do not have the resources required from Government.
  • Anti-social behaviour, drug offences and gang-linked violence top the list of crimes council chiefs believe have soared in communities across the UK over the last 5 years.
  • NLGN think tank states that the Government’s latest measures, including the new ‘public health duty’ and pledge of 20,000 police officers, simply do not go far enough.

Councils across the UK are battling an alarming funding shortfall in tackling violent youth crime according to a respected quarterly survey of all council chief executives, leaders and mayors. The NLGN Leadership Index found that 75 per cent of council chiefs believe they do not have enough funding to address violent youth offending in their communities. Focusing on predominantly urban areas (London and Metropolitan Borough councils), the figure rises even higher to 85 per cent.

This latest survey strengthens evidence that unprecedented council budget cuts in recent years have led to a sharp rise in violent youth crime across the UK. Over 60 per cent of local authority leaderships state they have witnessed an increase in violent youth offending in their communities over the last 5 years. In urban areas the figures soar to 85 per cent.

Anti-social behaviour, drug offences and gang-linked violence have topped the list of crimes council chiefs believe have risen over the last 5 years.

Based on the survey’s strong findings, NLGN think tank are arguing that the Government’s most recent measures to tackle the youth crime crisis, including a new ‘public health duty’ on public sector bodies and a commitment to 20,000 more police officers, simply do not go far enough.

Adam Lent, the Director of the New Local Government Network, said:

“Violent youth offending is at a crisis point. But preventative programmes that are required to stem violent crime are precisely the programmes councils have had to cut due to a decade of austerity.

“While there have been noteworthy measures thus far, including the Youth Endowment Fund, funding is still far from adequate. The new public health duty on violent crime, for example, does not come with any money attached.

“But money alone is not enough. For a preventative approach to work, the Government has to work with the public sector on a long-term strategy. That strategy must recognise the differing needs of different communities and must allow councils and their partners to undertake fundamental outreach work with those at risk of offending”.

The NLGN Leadership Index is a quarterly survey of council leaders, chief executives and mayors of local authorities across the UK first published in March 2018. It provided a platform for councils to express their level of confidence in delivery key services and the overall experience of the community.

Notes to editors
1. For further information, please contact Molly Jarritt, Senior External Affairs Officer at NLGN, on 07714 448036 or at mjarritt@nlgn.org.uk.
2. The NLGN Leadership Index survey was sent to 768 council leaders, chief executives and mayors across the UK. It was open between 9 July 2019 and 22 July 2019. This latest survey received a total of 207 complete responses, which translates to a 27 per cent response rate. Survey responses were received from all UK regions.
3. The most recent statistics on youth offending released by the Ministry of Justice show that in the year ending March 2019, 22,041 knife and offensive weapon offences were formally dealt with by the Criminal Justice System. This has increased by 34 per cent since the year ending March 2015 (16,438). Looking at offences overall – there were 43,516 knife crime offences in the 12 months ending March 2019. This is an 80 per cent increase from the low-point in the year ending March 2014, when there were 23,945 offences, and is the highest number since comparable data was compiled.
4. Key questions and responses as follows:

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