Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced that a coalition of Government ministers, cross-party MPs, police leaders, local Government officials and members of the voluntary sector will make up a Serious Violence Task Force specifically designed to ensure sustained, swift and decisive action against violent crime.
Together with the Government, the Task Force will help design and deliver the key commitments of the Serious Violence Strategy, working with affected communities to ensure that immediate and real action is taken.
The Task Force’s aim is to stop the recent increases in serious violence and preside over a reduction in the levels of violent crime. It will hold the Government and others to account, evaluate the Serious Violence Strategy’s impact and commission further work as commitments are delivered.
Chaired by the Home Secretary, the Task Force – which met for the first time today, when the frequency of future meetings was due to be decided – will have the vital job of ensuring that the Serious Violence Strategy is effectively delivered.
“I’m determined that the Serious Violence Strategy will have an immediate impact on tackling the scourge of serious violence,” said Amber Rudd. “The Task Force must work with the Government to deliver the Serious Violence Strategy’s commitments. Together, we will seek to prevent serious violence from happening in the first place and ensure the measures that I set out when I launched our plan are delivered. Everyone joining the Task Force is wholly committed to ending the serious violence that blights our communities.”
Membership of the Task Force
The Task Force’s members include Home Office ministers Nick Hurd and Victoria Atkins, London MPs Chuka Umunna and David Lammy, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Cressida Dick, the National Crime Agency’s director general Lynne Owens and Chingford and Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith, who founded the Centre for Social Justice and also has a long-standing interest in issues around serious violence.
Establishing the Task Force was one of 60 measures announced in the Serious Violence Strategy. Commissioned by the Home Secretary and backed by £40 million of Home Office funding, it marks a major shift in the Government’s response to serious violence.
It strikes a balance between prevention and robust law enforcement with a new £11 million Early Intervention Youth Fund for community projects designed to help young people live their lives free from violence.
The Serious Violence Strategy identifies the changing drugs market – in particular the devastating impact of crack cocaine – as a key driver of the violence harming our communities, and announces a range of powerful actions to tackle the issue of ‘county lines’ and its implications for drugs, violence and exploitation of vulnerable people. That includes £3.6 million of funding to establish a new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre.