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Christian charity supports MPs who say youth violence in 'social emergency'

The MPs from the Home Affairs select committee said youth violence is a "national crisis" and a "social emergency" and should be treated as such before more teenagers die because of it.

The report is accusing the Government of not prioritising the issue; however, ministers insist they are boosting police resources and Boris Johnson has announced his commitment to having 20,000 more police officers.

The MPs said they found strong evidence linking deprivation and vulnerability with knife crime and violence and called for a national "youth service guarantee" with ring-fenced funding for statutory services.

Christian charity C2C social action agreed with the MPs. The organisation, based in Northampton, supports people involved at any stage of the criminal justice system to help them reduce re-offending.

C2C social action Northampton's CEO, Angie Kennedy told Premier: "Youth crime and associated societal problems are coming from the lack of funding right the way across. Here in Northampton, we have issues with funding in the council, local statutory services and in schools, the whole lot. Youth crime, youth involvement, lack of youth engagement is a consequence of all of those due to a lack of funding a lack of contact and a lack of resources."

Ms. Kennedy told Premier the solution involves a much bigger picture: "MPs are calling for more police in schools. But I think that is just a tiny, tiny proportion of what should really be happening. I mean, it is only a small part of the bigger solution.

"There should be some real joined up thinking not just on the strategy services, not just through councils, but local churches, local community groups and the community as a whole."

Charities have previously said spending on early intervention fell by 40 percent in real terms between 2010/11 and 2015/16. Funding of Sure Start centres, which provide access to early intervention services, halved over eight years.

MPs are calling for more investment in early intervention and prevention and Ms. Kennedy agrees, she told Premier: "Youth violence is happening outside schools, it's happening in the communities. We as communities need to be getting involved at the earliest possible time working as a whole, with schools with other community groups, and to use shared thinking and shared resources and experience to actually tackle it at the earliest opportunity."

She said in order to see change churches can work together and praised Premier's 'Peace on our Streets' campaign: "I think the Premier initiative to pray for youth on the street, 'Peace on our Streets' is absolutely vital. It is developing any way to pray for the youth of our society and in our communities. If you see people in parks, pray for them. This has to be a joint up community thing, churches coming together and not looking at each individual church, independently.

"God wouldn't want this to be happening. We need to join as a community, a whole Church of God, to make a change, to change the hearts and minds of the people making the decisions and the funding. Don't write the youth of today off, give them a chance, give them a place to belong that is safe."

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