Avon and Somerset is to receive a further £1.6m to help reduce serious violence among young people, as part of a national investment of £35millon by the Home Office.
The funding will be used to continue the work of the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) which was set up in September 2019 with an initial funding injection from the Government of £1.6m.
The initial investment was awarded following a push by Chief Constable Andy Marsh and Sue Mountstevens, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), for Avon and Somerset to be one of the 18 force areas in England and Wales to be given the additional money to tackle serious violence.
The VRU, which is co-ordinated by the PCC, is made up of partners including police, all five local authorities, education, clinical commissioning groups, public health departments, charities and community groups.
Together the VRU works to identify the main drivers of serious violence in communities and then puts in place tailored responses to address them. Activity so far has included education work in schools, youth diversionary schemes and early intervention programmes aimed at those most at risk of being affected by serious violence.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “This is very welcome news and comes at a time when it is clearer than ever that we need cohesive and sustained action to help combat the issue of serious violence.
“There have been a number of tragic cases in our force area in recent months, where the lives of young people, their families and communities, have been devastated by the impact of knife crime.
“Those involved in these offences are often some of the most vulnerable in our communities, which is why police action alone is not enough. A partnership approach which provides support and guidance at an early stage, is the only way we will prevent more young people taking the wrong path.
“It’s not going to be a quick fix. We know it’s going to take time and commitment from all those involved, but this additional funding will allow us, and our partners, to keep up the momentum that has built over the past six months and to continue with the extremely positive work already underway.”