Home Office to plough extra £35m into tackling serious violence
Communities are to be given access to a fund worth more than £35 million to help tackle serious violence and prevent young people from getting mixed up in such crimes.
The funding announcement comes after a spate of fatal stabbings in London last week.
A man in his 20s was killed and another critically injured in an incident in Kilburn in the northwest of the capital on Saturday, while investigations are continuing into a flurry of unconnected stabbings in south London since Friday evening in which a 22-year-old died and 11 other people were wounded.
The Home Office is committing £35.5 million to help Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), which support projects that carry out preventative work with children and young people, to battle the “horrors” of physical attacks.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “VRUs play a vital role in preventing young people from being dragged into the horrors of serious violence, and this funding will enable them to continue this crucial work.
“I will continue to back our police with the resources and powers they need to cut crime and make your community safer.”
Work funded by the units has included prevention work in schools, communities, prisons, hospitals, pupil referral units and police custody suites.
The latest round of investment, which will cover 2021/22, is the third year of funding for 18 VRUs operating across England and Wales in the areas worst affected, taking total investment to more than £105 million, officials said.
In their first year of activity, initiatives funded by the scheme supported more than 100,000 young people, at least half of whom were identified as being at high risk of becoming involved in criminal and violent activity.
The Home Office said the programme has helped bring police, education leaders, health workers and local government together to share information about the causes of violence and agree a mutual plan of action.
Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for violence and vulnerability, said the specialist units have made “a significant change” in the two years since being set up.
“We welcome the commitment from Government in tackling serious violence and this funding will allow the units to continue to support young people and keep communities safe,” she said.
In addition to the funding announced on Monday, more than £2 million is also to be made available via a winter contingency fund package.
The money will be delivered through VRUs to local charities and social enterprises that support vulnerable young people at risk of involvement in violence through the lockdown period.