Schools and NHS could be held accountable over youth crime

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid wants to make it a legal duty to report concerns over at risk young people

Teachers, NHS workers and police officers could be held accountable for failing to spot violent crime among young people under government plans announced on Monday.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has launched a consultation to assess whether there is a “public health duty” to report concerns over children at risk.

He said he will use “all the tools” at his disposal to end violent crime.

A summit on serious youth violence is being held at Downing Street this week.

‘Crime is rotting society’

The government says its plan is intended to “help spot the warning signs that a young person could be in danger, such as presenting in A&E with suspicious injury, to worrying behaviour at school or issues at home”.

Mr Javid called violent crime “a disease rotting our society” and said he was “committed to ending this scourge”.

“The public health, multi-agency approach has a proven track record and I’m confident that making it a legal duty will help stop this senseless violence and create long-term change,” he added.

The announcement comes a day after Mr Javid handed the police greater stop and search powers to tackle rising knife crime in England.

With 285 deaths from stabbings in 2017-18, the most ever recorded in the UK, ministers have come under increasing pressure to tackle knife crime.

As well as hosting the summit on youth violence, which starts on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May will meet privately with families affected by knife crime.

Mrs May said that while strong law enforcement “plays an important role”, she added that communities need to look at what they can do to safeguard young people.

“That is why our plans to introduce a whole community – or ‘public health’ – approach are designed to identify more young people at risk,” she said.

More than 100 experts will meet at Downing Street during the week to discuss the issue.

The consultation, which is open to the public and professionals across the UK, will run until May 28.

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