Package includes £30 million for police to surge activity in serious violence hotspots and new money to steer young people away from crime
The government is making over £130 million available to tackle serious violent crime – including murder and knife crime – in the coming year, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced today (Monday 8 March).
The funding will enable a programme of work to prevent some of the most serious types of crime and deliver safer communities for the British public.
The package includes:
£30 million to support the police to take targeted action in parts of England and Wales most affected by serious violence*: this is new money, following over £100 million in surge funding that has been provided to police over the past 2 years and which has already seen over 100,000 weapons seized by police and thousands of hours of enforcement activity in hotspot areas – including increased patrols, weapons sweeps, and stop and search
up to £23 million for new early intervention programmes that will help stop young people from being drawn into violence: this includes programmes which use significant moments in a young person’s life – such as when they enter police custody or accident and emergency – as opportunities for trained professionals to engage and divert young people away from violence
The funding comes ahead of the introduction of a major criminal justice bill, which will:
give police new stop and search powers to tackle known knife and weapons carriers
place a duty on public sector bodies – including police, education and health agencies – to take a joined-up approach to addressing serious violence
require local agencies to review the circumstances when an adult homicide takes place involving offensive weapons, such as knives, to ensure lessons are learnt and future deaths are prevented
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
I am determined to cut crime and make our streets safer, which is why we are recruiting 20,000 more police officers, introducing new stop and search powers, and giving the police the resources they need to go after the serious violent criminals causing misery in communities.
But when it comes to gangs and serious violence, we must also tackle underlying causes. That is why we are investing in new early intervention programmes to stop young people committing these crimes in the first place.
National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for Serious Violent Crime, Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, said:
Continuing to work with partners to address serious violence and its widespread impact on individuals and communities is a key priority for forces. Even during the pandemic, we have seen serious street-based violence continue and particularly violence involving young people as both victims and perpetrators.
I have seen officers and staff facing real challenges to their own safety every day, facing unknown dangers when executing warrants, taking knives from those carrying them in public places and dealing with victims of serious violence and trauma with compassionate professionalism.
Bringing about sustained reductions in violence is incredibly complex. We welcome this renewal of funding from the Home Office, which will allow police to maintain a focus on tactics and activities that we have an evidence base on and know work in local communities.
The package is made up of funding secured at the Spending Review and through the Shared Outcomes Fund, which funds pilot projects to test innovative ways of working across the public sector.
It also includes a range of other measures to address the factors that lead to serious violent crime and stop it happening in the first place. These include:
£10 million to expand domestic abuse perpetrator programmes, which will hold perpetrators to account by challenging their behaviours and helping to change them: this is in addition to the £19 million announced by the Chancellor in Wednesday’s Budget for domestic abuse schemes, which includes £15 million dedicated to tackling perpetrators through new behaviour change programmes to prevent abuse happening in the first place
£3.4 million to expand work being carried out by the Metropolitan Police’s Social Media Hub to investigate online gang-related material, gather evidence for prosecutions, and make referrals to social media companies so illegal and harmful content can be taken down
£1 million to set up and start the pilot for new homicide reviews: these reviews will take place following deaths of adults where offensive weapons have been involved and will require local agencies and safeguarding partners to examine individual cases so future deaths are prevented - further funding (£1.8 million) will be available next year to continue the pilot into 2022 to 2023
£1.6 million towards piloting the Creating Opportunities Forum this year: a new programme to support young people who may be at risk of serious violence to access employment opportunities - funding of £1.7 million will also be available next year to fund the pilot into 2022 to 2023
The funding package also includes the further £35.5 million towards violence reduction units which was announced in early February. The units draw together partners in 18 areas worst affected by serious violence to deliver a full range of co-ordinated action needed to tackle serious violence at its root.
The remaining funding will all be spent on programmes which support the government’s ambition to drive down serious violent crime.