Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper pledged a Labour crackdown on knife crime during an official visit to Swindon.
Later, she visited the Dorcan headquarters of BEST - Be a Better You, an organisation run by local businessman Don Bryden which offers bespoke one-to-one mentoring programmes for people aged 11-25 who are at risk, and also has enrichment programs for schools and holiday activities for people aged 5-16.
The Shadow Home Secretary, who was accompanied at best by South Swindon Labour Parliamentary Candidate Heidi Alexander and North Swindon counterpart Will Stone, had a private meeting with representatives of the Owen’s World anti-knife crime organisation set up following the murder of Owen Dunn in Swindon last year.
Ms Cooper's visit to Swindon came as a 16-year-old boy recovered in hospital following a stabbing in Cranmore Avenue.
Asked about knife crime and gang problems, she said: ""I'm really worried about rising knife crime. It's gone up across the country - it's about seven percent higher than it was 10 years ago. In Wiltshire it's nearly doubled since 2015.
"It's devastating for families and for communities and young people as well.
"So we have to have action to tackle that, and I think it has to be a mix of things. I think that going back to neighbourhood policing is crucially important. They've got far fewer officers and PCSOs than they used to have because policing is so overstretched. We've got to get those extra police back on the beat.
"We would find that by requiring the 43 police forces to work together to share some of their services rather than duplicating them, and that will save money we can put back into front line policing.
"Certainly I think we need stronger laws to crack down on online knife sales. It's so easy for kids to get knives online, including really dangerous machetes and really dangerous weapons, so let's have a crackdown on the online knife sales - and a crackdown on the criminal gangs that are luring kids into crime, bribing them with trainers and getting them into running drugs for them, all that kind of thing."
The Shadow Home Secretary also stressed the importance of diverting young people from dangerous paths, such as through mentoring and support offered by BEST and by having mental health professionals available to pupils in all secondary schools.
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