THE RISE of violent crime is being fuelled by huge government cuts to services that support families and young children, says the West Midlands Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner.
Tom McNeil wants an urgent injection of funds for the region after finding out that the number of children’s centres has more than halved in the last decade.
In 2010 there were 189 council run children’s centres across Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry and Solihull, but by 2021 that number had tumbled to just 75.
And others have seen services reduced.
Children’s centres provide help to young families by offering parenting support, play sessions or advice on financial, domestic abuse or drink and drug issues.
Mr McNeil says evidence has shown the effectiveness of children’s centres to improve health and education outcomes later down the line.
He is now calling on the government to urgently provide funding in order to reverse the cuts of the last 13 years.
Mr McNeil added: “Issues like domestic abuse, mental ill-health and poverty can result in problems with child development and, if not supported, young people can go on to be drawn into gangs and criminality, fuelling violent crime.
“These centres offer many of our most disadvantages families a vital lifeline and that is why I am deeply concerned about the huge government cuts to these services over the last 13 years.
“While I welcome new government funding for family hubs, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the almost £2billion in cuts over the last ten years, especially when coupled with the huge cuts to youth services, education and mental health services.”