Funding will help support activity to target people who pose a threat to our communities
The Government has today announced it is making more than £130million available to tackle serious violent crime in the coming year.
In response, APCC Serious Violence Lead Mark Burns-Williamson said: “We welcome this announcement of additional money for the next 12 months that will help fund proactive 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. The 18 areas identified are also benefitting from the Home Office’s continued support for the Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) which 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 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 Government recognise this in the next three-year Comprehensive Spending Review settlement for all parts of England and Wales.”
Deputy Lead Ray Bisby added: "Whilst the extra funding is gratefully received by the forces that have VRUs, ONS data shows that other forces are also seeing higher numbers of people carrying weapons or sharp objects. And, due to the impact of Covid-19, as young people spend more time on the internet at home they are at greater risk of grooming and exploitation. This is a recipe for disaster, which will hit the streets as lockdown is eased.
"Forces without VRUs will, as usual, look to resolve these issues from their core budgets to the best of their abilities. However, this is like trying to block a hole in a dam with a finger when the heavy rains have created cracks throughout the whole structure. We need funding for all forces to enable the dam to be repaired.
"Funding is tight for the Government but unless the issues are tackled at an early stage, then the cost down the line will be astronomical and the impact on our communities will be devastating."