West Mids PCC secures more than £3 million to tackle violent crime

18 June 2019, 11:33 | Updated: 18 June 2019, 11:34

PCC talking with school children about knife crime

£3.37 million of government funding will be used to establish the region's first ever Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).

The Home Office funding has been awarded to the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to combat a rise in violent crime in the region. Knife crime is up by 85% since 2012 and gun crime up by a third.

According to the PCC, the new VRU will adopt a ‘public health approach’, which means issues like gang activity and knife crime will not only be seen as a policing priority, but a problem that needs to be tackled by all public agencies.

In a bid to keep young generations away from violent crime and gangs the VRU will offer them alternative activities, training and help into employment.

It is likely former offenders will be asked to engage with young people and warn them about the consequences of a life of crime. Violence mentoring in schools could also be rolled out further.  

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “For some years now we have been warning that more funding is needed to tackle rising levels of violent crime in our area. I will be using this money to ensure our young people aren’t caught up in a cycle of violence and have real alternative options and better life chances.

“Whilst this funding is welcomed by all in the West Midlands the government needs to know that a real long term funding solution is still very much needed.”