The Shadow Policing Secretary has vowed to tackle knife crime in the North East if she is to come into power, following a string of young people killed in the region.  

In a visit to Darlington's Number Forty, Shadow Secretary Sarah Jones, and Labour's Darlington Parliamentary candidate discussed knife crime and violence against women and girls.

In the last few years, the North East has seen a spate of tragic killings. Most recently, a Harrogate teenager was attacked on the street and later died in hospital. Only four weeks ago, Holly Newton died in Hexham after being stabbed. 

In an exclusive interview with The Northern Echo, Shadow Policing Secretary Sarah Jones promised to meet with the mothers of Jack Woodley, Connor Brown, Gordon Gault, and Tomasz Oleszak. 

She admitted the North East had fallen behind London when it came to dealing with knife crime and said she was determined to change that if Labour was to come into power. 

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In October last year, Sir Keir Starmer agreed to meet the mothers of knife crime victims in the region, but as of yet, has not done so. 

However, Ms Jones said Sir Keir remained committed to meeting the bereaved mothers and has also promised to meet with Zoey McGill, Tanya Brown, Dionne Barrett, and Kamila Wisniewska herself to discuss the scourge of knife crime.

The Northern Echo: Lola McEvoy, left, and Sarah Jones, discussing knife crime. Lola McEvoy, left, and Sarah Jones, discussing knife crime. (Image: Phoebe Abruzzese)

She said: "We are committed to dealing knife crime, and to come to see the mothers. My own constituency, in Croyden, has also seen similar crimes. It is an epidemic across the country - I have met with so many heartbroken parents. 

"We are determined to understand and prevent the crime." 

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Ms Jones believes that the key to targeting knife crime is to "look after our lost boys and girls".

Community schemes that help tackle antisocial behaviour in its infancy - by giving troubled teens role models, outlets, and safe spaces - are key, according to the Shadow Policing Secretary.

Additionally, Darlington's Parliamentary candidate, Lola McEvoy, advocated for a more "joined-up approach" for departments working on crime prevention. 

She said: "We have been left out and are now playing catch-up to London. They have precautions and methods of prevention that just haven't made their way up here.

"The North East hasn't exactly been left behind - but organisations are working in silos."

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Ms Jones also identified a public "disillusionment" in police forces. 

She said: "We need to build confidence in the police. We are coming off the back of high-profile police scandals, like Sarah Everard, David Carrick, and Stephen Port. 

"Labour will introduce national legal standards, and standards in policing and vetting, to combat the current perception of the police."