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Cash for Violence Reduction Units

Eighteen PCCs (Police and Crime Commissioners) have been awarded £35m to set up specialist teams to tackle violent crime in their area, the Government has announced.

The Violence Reduction Units will bring together the police, local government, health, community leaders and others to tackle violent crime by understanding its causes, the Home Office says. The new units will be responsible for identifying what is driving violent crime in the area and coming up with a co-ordinated response. It follows a roundtable at Downing Street, hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, bringing together police, probation and prisons leaders; and APCC Chair, Sussex PCC Katy Bourne.

The new Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “To beat knife crime we must do two things: first we need assertive, high profile police enforcement and second, we need a coordinated approach to the long term solutions to violence in society, especially amongst the young. These new units should help us get results on both.”

One of the 18, West Midlands PCC David Jamieson said: “I will be working with others and using this money to ensure our young people aren’t caught up in a cycle of violence and have real alternatives and better life chances. I have worked closely with Public Health England, local authorities and communities on this bid and would like to place on record my thanks to them all. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them and would also like to thank the region’s MPs and Councillors who have been so supportive.

“We all need to work together to tackle the root causes of violent crime. The Unit will be focussing on providing opportunities for young people and diverting them from crime, as part of a public health approach. I am working closely with the Home Office to ensure this funding is sustainable in future years.”

The Met Police is getting the largest single award, £7m. Others are Manchester, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Northumbria, Thames Valley, Lancashire, Essex, Avon and Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Sussex, Hampshire, and South Wales.

For the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) Serious Violence Lead Mark Burns-Williamson said: “Whilst acknowledging this welcome investment in helping to establish Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) along similar lines to both the Glasgow and Cardiff models, which have seen success over a number of years, a long-term commitment by Government here also needs to be secured. During our conversations with Home Office Ministers and officials, we have made it very clear that there needs to sustained funding for at least the next three to five years over the period of the spending review, if the work around violence reduction is to have a lasting effect on future generations.

“This has been acknowledged by all former Ministers and Home Office officials and we hope an early indication can be given to ensure this vital multi-agency work, led and coordinated by PCCs in tackling violent crime, deserves the priority we have all been highlighting and working towards both locally and nationally.”


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