Areas that have suffered the biggest surge in knife crime have also seen the highest budget cuts to youth services, new figures have revealed.
Wolverhampton and Westminster local authorities suffered youth services cuts of 91% each since 2014, Cambridgeshire saw 88% cuts and Wokingham Borough Council 81 per cent.
Police forces recorded almost exactly the same proportion of increases in knife crime in these areas.
Labour’s Croydon MP Sarah Jones, who chairs the All-Party Group on Knife Crime, called for a new legal requirement on councils to provide youth services.
She said: “We cannot hope to turn around the knife crime epidemic if we don’t invest in our young people.
“Every time I speak to young people they say the same thing: they need more positive activities, safe spaces to spend time with friends and programmes to help them grow and develop.
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“Our figures show how in areas where support for young people has been cut most, they are more at risk of violence.
"Youth services cannot be a ‘nice to have’. Our children’s safety must be our number one priority.
“The Government must urgently review its own funding for young people and consider setting a legal requirement for councils to provide certain youth services. We have requirements for post offices, why not youth clubs?”
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