Eighteen Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will receive an additional £35 million to continue funding specialist teams to tackle violent crime in their area, the Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced. Violence Reduction Units bring together different organisations including the police, local Government, healthcare professionals, community leaders and other key partners to prevent serious violence by understanding its root causes.
This early intervention approach forms one part of the Government’s drive to tackle serious violence, which also includes bolstering law enforcement with 20,000 new police officers and increasing prison sentences for proven violent criminals.
Priti Patel said: “I will not tolerate criminals drawing vulnerable young people into a life of violence. We are delivering on the people’s priorities by recruiting 20,000 new police officers and introducing tougher sentences to keep offenders behind bars for longer, but agencies must also work together to tackle this issue head on. Violence Reduction Units are already playing a vital role in diverting young people away from crime. This latest round of funding will allow them to continue this important work.”
Association of Police and Crime Commissioners serious violence lead Mark Burns-Williamson PCC OBE responded: “This funding is very welcome as it will enable PCCs to continue to develop and fund their Violence Reduction Units in the short term. PCCs are investing in preventative and early intervention initiatives around the country and are working to deliver a whole-system approach towards tackling serious violence. We will continue to work with the Home Office and our partners to ensure longer-term investment over the period of the next Spending Review for all police force and PCC areas to deal with the scourge of serious violence in helping to keep our communities safe.”
Responding to serious violence
Last year, the Home Secretary allocated £35 million to 18 PCCs in those areas deemed to be worst affected by violent crime in order to set up Violence Reduction Units as part of an additional £100 million fund designed to support the police in responding to serious violence.
Each Violence Reduction Unit has been tasked with delivering strategies that involve the police, healthcare workers, community leaders and others. All aim to reduce and prevent violence in both the short and long term.
Work already under way from the Violence Reduction Units includes new virtual reality technology to teach young people about the dangers of becoming involved in serious violence and putting community leaders in hospital A&E Departments to provide support to those involved in violence when they’re most vulnerable.
The announcement from central Government follows on from a raft of new commitments from the Conservative Party to crack down on violent crime, such as creating a legal duty on public bodies to work together to tackle and prevent its occurrence.
*Funding is subject to receiving proposals from Violence Reduction Units on spending allocations and being agreed by the Home Office