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Hampshire police handed extra £800,000 to combat violent crime

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Michael Lane, Hampshire's police and crime commissioner
Michael Lane, Hampshire's police and crime commissioner

HAMPSHIRE police and crime commissioner Michael Lane will be given an extra £800,000 from the government to continue the fight against violent crime.

He is among 18 PCCs in the areas worst affected by violent crime that Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced will share an additional £35m to continue funding specialist teams in 2020-21.

An initial £35m, including £800,000 for Hampshire, was announced last August.

Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) bring together organisations including police, local government, health, community leaders and other key partners to prevent serious violence by understanding its root causes.

This approach forms 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 violent criminals.

Just before Christmas Mr Lane’s office announced his VRU had put £500,000 towards initiatives to prevent and tackle serious violence across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

It said: “The funding will support initiatives focused on early intervention with young people at risk of serious violence, including positive role models, youth activities, one-to-one and whole-family support, and skills training for professionals.”

The VRU was set up in September and, alongside the early intervention initiatives, will work to build evidence, data and intelligence to better understand what drives serious violence.

Mr Lane said: “This funding will go to projects proven to engage young people most at risk and support them towards a future free from violence and is a positive step forward in tackling the root causes of violent crime.

“Over the coming months we will be reaching out to young people, communities, community safety partners and many others across the area to get their input into a longer-term strategy for Hampshire.

"I hope to hear from as many people as possible so that together, we can keep our communities safer.”

Home Secretary 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.

“These units are already playing a vital role in diverting young people away from crime – and the funding I have announced today will allow them to continue this important work.”

The announcement also follows a raft of new commitments from the government to crack down on violent crime, such as creating a legal duty on public bodies to work together to tackle and prevent violent crime.

Receiving the greatest funding in the new Home Office-approved awards is the Metropolitan Police VRU with £7m, with four northern police areas each awarded £3.37m, a middle tier of seven force areas getting £1.16m and Hampshire in the lowest tier of six, including Sussex and South Wales, each being given £800,000.

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