The MA has responded to the Home Affairs Committee's inquiry into serious violence. The inquiry follows the publication of the Serious Violence Strategy earlier this year, which set out the Government's response to recent increases in knife crime, gun crime and homicide.
Much of the MA's response focused on the issue of county lines, a growing trend in criminal activity where criminal networks supply drugs to suburban and rural locations, often using vulnerable children and young people as couriers. With this type of criminal activity often leading to vulnerable defendants appearing before the courts for a range of serious offences, the MA stressed the need for greater training and guidance on the issue. We also took the opportunity to call for more guidance on the operation of the National Referral Mechanism for human trafficking or modern slavery victims, and suggested that the strategy should consider the future use of Out of Court Disposals (OOCDs) for young people - highlighting our longstanding concerns with regard to their use for serious and violent offences, such as knife crime.
On the strategy's section on law enforcement, the MA called for greater recognition of the important role of the courts in responding to serious crime where prevention has not been successful, and also echoed concerns around the use of the Metropolitan Police's Gang Violence Matrix, emphasising that sentencers need confidence in any information relied upon when identifying gang involvement.
The full response will be published on the Home Affairs Committee website in due course, and will then be made available on the MA website.