Home Office announces new funding to tackle violence hotspots

Police are to be given an extra £30 million funding pot to target violence hotspots in a bid to crack down on murders, knife crime and other serious offences.

Mar 8, 2021
By Website Editor

The Government cash is set to be made available to forces in parts of England and Wales which are “most affected by serious violence”, according to the Home Office.

The money is subject to approval by the department once police chiefs submit plans on how to spend it.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the spending is part of more than £130 million being made available in the coming year to tackle violent crime and make Britain safer.

It will also pay for renewing and expanding other existing projects – like those challenging the behaviour of domestic abusers and paying for police investigations into gang material on social media – as well as funding other new schemes, like £23 million being set aside for more early intervention programmes to steer young people away from a life of crime.

As part of these projects there are plans for trained professionals to intervene and provide support to youngsters when they are taken into police custody or end up in hospital in accident and emergency, the Home Office said.

The announcement comes ahead of the introduction of a criminal justice Bill, which will seek to give police more stop and search powers to tackle those known to carry knives and other weapons.

The Bill also seeks to place a duty on public bodies, like the police and education authorities, to work together to address violence, as well as require councils to review deaths where weapons like knives are involved to help prevent more tragedies in future.

Ms Patel said she was “determined to cut crime” and make the country’s streets safer by giving police the resources they need, but added: “When it comes to gangs and serious violence, we must also tackle underlying causes.”

Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s work on serious violent crime, welcomed the funding and said tackling serious violence was a “priority” for forces.

She added: “Even during the pandemic we have seen serious street-based violence continue and particularly violence involving young people as both victims and perpetrators.”

The forces receiving a share of the £30 million funding include: the Metropolitan Police Service, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Northumbria, Thames Valley, Lancashire, Essex, Avon and Somerset, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Sussex, Hampshire and South Wales.

In the past two years £100 million of such funding has resulted in more than 100,000 weapons being seized and has seen thousands of hours of police activity like increased patrols and searches, the Home Office said.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners lead for serious violence, Mark Burns-Williamson, said it welcomed the additional money, which will help fund “operational activity to target people who pose a threat to our communities, such as those involved in distributing weapons and drugs through County Lines activities”.

He added: “The 18 areas identified are also benefitting from the Home Office’s continued support for the Violence Reduction Units, which police and crime commissioners (PCCs) have set up to tackle the longer-term causes of crime and help divert young people away from exploitation.

“But, again, the impact of violence in other parts of the country appears to have been overlooked. When County Lines gangs infiltrate sub-urban and rural areas they invariably look to recruit vulnerable local people to help them undertake their damaging criminal activity. PCCs and police in those areas are also working with partners and investing in local projects but will be disappointed again to again miss out on additional central funding.

“We have consistently said that tackling violent crime is a long term endeavour. We’ll be working hard to ensure the Government recognise this in the next three-year Comprehensive Spending Review settlement for all parts of England and Wales.”

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