South Yorkshire Police set for £1.6m to launch 'violence reduction unit'

South Yorkshire Police is set to receive £1.6 million from the Government in a bid to tackle the ‘root cause’ of violent crime.

By Lee Peace
Tuesday, 18 June, 2019, 18:19

Home Secretary Sajid Javid today announced Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, has been provisionally allocated the money to set up a ‘violence reduction unit.’

Sajid Javid.

The unit will bring together South Yorkshire Police, councils, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key partners to tackle violent crime.

In a statement announcing the cash boost, the Home Office said the partnership will ‘take a public health approach to address the underlying causes of violent crime.’

South Yorkshire is one of 18 areas across the country to be allocated funding specifically aimed at reducing violent crime.

Mr Javid said: “We are losing too many young lives to the horrors of serious violence and it’s crucial that all parts of our society work together to tackle it head-on.

“The violence reduction unit that is being set up in South Yorkshire with this additional funding will help do this.”

Dr Billings said: “I support the idea of a violence reduction unit as a way of co-ordinating these responses and doing more; I will be looking to partners to help. 

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“I also support the ‘public health’ approach to violent crime. This means treating violence as if it were a disease whose spread can be stopped if we tackle the causes of the disease and not just the disease itself.“

He added: “The experience elsewhere is that any serious attempt to reduce violent crime has to be sustained over a number of years. In  Glasgow, for example, the VRU was first established in 2005 with a ten year strategy – which dramatically cut homicides and stabbings in the city.  

“I will shortly be drawing partners together to discuss how best we can use this funding to enable South Yorkshire to be a safe place for all citizens.”

This latest funding comes just weeks after South Yorkshire Police launched a violent crime taskforce using £2.5m from the Home Office to ‘reduce the volume of knife and firearm enabled assaults, wounding and robberies’ over the next 12 months. 

It is also on top of the £261.8 million South Yorkshire Police is receiving as a result of the police funding settlement for 2019/20, including council tax.

The Home Office has pledged to work closely with the violence reduction unit to assess how the funding is being used to strengthen the response to serious violence.