A further £100 million funding will be made available by central Government to police forces in the worst affected areas in England and Wales for tackling violent criminality (including knife crime). Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Spring Statement that this funding will ease policing pressures and pay for police forces to have more officers available to respond to crime or patrol in local communities.
The funding will also be invested in Violence Reduction Units, bringing together a range of agencies including health, education, social services and others to develop a multi-agency approach in preventing knife crime altogether. The units will be based on models used in Glasgow where homicide rates fell by 54% from 2006-2007 to 2015-2016.
Philip Hammond said: “We know action is needed now to tackle knife crime which is blighting communities around the country. That’s why I’m announcing that I’ve heard the calls from the police and the families affected by this devastating crime, and will make available an additional £100 million to be spent over the course of the next year. This money will be ring-fenced to pay for an increased police presence and patrolling to make our streets safer. Importantly, it will also go further in tackling the causes of this crime by investing in Violent Crime Reduction Units in the worst affected areas.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid added: “I’m deeply concerned by the rising levels of knife crime. This is devastating communities and robbing young people of their lives and futures. I’ve been doing everything in my power to ensure we have the strongest possible response in place, but tackling this requires action on many fronts. Law enforcement plays a key role and it’s clear from speaking to police leaders in recent weeks that they need an immediate increase in resources. I’ve listened to their concerns and this £100 million – including £80 million worth of new funding from the Treasury – will allow them to swiftly crack down on knife crime in areas of the country where it’s most rife.”
The new funding covers a period of one year and is made up of £80 million Treasury funding mentioned along with £20 million from Home Office re-prioritisation for the financial year 2019-2020.
The majority of the funding will be provided to Police and Crime Commissioners for the seven police forces where serious violence levels are highest, and which account for around 70% of recorded knife crime. Those forces cover London, the West Midlands, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Wales and Greater Manchester.
Final allocations to Police and Crime Commissioners will be confirmed in due course.
Separately, the Home Secretary has committed to tracking the impact that this funding is having and to work with policing to make sure this issue is prioritised and tackled.