South Yorkshire gets second spending boost for work to tackle violent crime

More Government cash has been awarded to South Yorkshire Police to help the force tackle violent crime through a project which will also involve local authorities, the health and education services as well as the communities affected.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 11:23 am
Dr Alan Billings
Dr Alan Billings

The move comes in addition to cash being used to finance a violent crime task force over the next year, which has already shown positive results in crackdown down on serious crime on the county’s streets.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has awarded the county a provisional £1.6m for the scheme, which puts the onus for tackling violent crime on society as a whole, rather than just focusing on enforcement work by police and the move has been welcomed by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings.

South Yorkshire is among the large metropolitan areas most affected by a sharp rise in knife crime in recent years, a record which justified its place as one of seven forces to get the earlier funding, though knife crime incidents in the county have begun to fall slightly while they continue to rise in many areas.

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Dr Billings is one of 18 PCCs to be awarded money from the latest £35m to be handed out, with Mr Javid wanting more work across society to solve the problems.

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

“It will bring together experts from South Yorkshire Police, local authorities, health professionals, community leaders and other key partners to crack down on the root causes of knife crime.”

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.

“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.

“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,” he said.

The money is on top of the normal £261m the force has been allocated from the Government this year, but Dr Billings had to increase the cash paid locally through council tax by 14 per cent to ensure there was enough money to put extra officers in the county’s communities.