Kit Malthouse – 2022 Statement on Serious Violence Duty

The statement made by Kit Malthouse, the Minister for Crime and Policing, in the House of Commons on 9 June 2022.

The Government are today announcing the publication of a consultation on the draft statutory guidance on the serious violence duty (the duty) which will be issued by the Secretary of State as statutory guidance under chapter 1 of part 2 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 to support specified authorities and organisation exercising functions in relation to the duty.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 introduced the duty to ensure specified authorities, being police, fire and rescue authorities, local authorities, specified health authorities and criminal justice agencies and organisations work collaboratively, to share data and information, understand the causes and consequences of serious violence, focusing on prevention and early intervention, and put in place plans informed by evidence to prevent and reduce serious violence. In addition, section 6(1) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 has been amended to ensure that serious violence is an explicit priority for community safety partnerships and that a strategy is in place to explicitly tackle serious violence.

The duty is a key part of the Government’s programme of work to reduce serious violence and put an end to the tragedies afflicting our communities. It is very important we work together, across Government, statutory, private, and voluntary sectors to deliver this crucial change. The Government have made £130 million available this financial year, 2022-23, to tackle serious violence, including murder and knife crime.

This Government committed to update and formally consult on the draft statutory guidance published in May 2021 on before the duty’s implementation. Officials have revised the guidance by engaging with other government departments, stakeholders and wider partners. Government amendments are also reflected in the new draft, and these:

provide clarity that the definition of violence for the purpose of the duty includes domestic abuse and sexual violence,

exclude patient information and in addition health or social care authorities cannot share personal information under the data sharing provisions in respect of the duty,

restrict data requests from local policing bodies, PCCs, and in London the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and the Common Council of the City of London as police authority, to information already held by an authority to whom the request is made,

require that the Secretary of State lays a copy of the final statutory guidance for the serious violence duty in Parliament,

clarify on the face of the legislation that specified authorities must publish a strategy and that regulations will provide further detail about the publication or dissemination of a strategy.

Specific guidance is included for authorities operating in Wales, to reflect the distinct Welsh legislative and operational context as well as additional content on housing and homelessness. The outline policy for secondary legislation on the publication and dissemination of local partnerships serious violence strategies and local policing bodies’ discretionary role to support the development and implementation of the local serious violence strategy is included.

The consultation, which launches today, 9 June, will run for a period of six weeks, closing on 21 July. Once the response to the consultation along with a final version of the guidance have been published, the duty and associated secondary legislation will be commenced to enable local partnerships to work towards publication and dissemination of their serious violence strategies.

A copy of this consultation and the draft statutory guidance will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and also made available on gov.uk.