Pleas to continue funding for Violence Reduction Units in West and South Yorkshire to successfully tackle violent crime

Violent crime cannot be successfully tackled if the Home Office does not continue to fund Violence Reduction Units, the Government has been urged.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 6:00 am

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced funding in Autumn last year for the units at police forces worst-affected by violent crime, earmarking West and South Yorkshire as areas of concern.

Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) work by studying the long-term and root causes of violence in society, working with councils, health bodies and communities to prevent young people from becoming embroiled in knife and gun crime.

Rachel Staniforth, Head of South Yorkshire's VRU, told The Yorkshire Post in a recent interview that she believed there was "a lot more work to do" to understand the real impacts of violence upon communities.

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Violence Reduction Units work with councils, health organisations and communities to reduce rates of violence such as knife and gun crime

She said: "We have worked with lots of community organisations over the last year and they all believe the key solution is pulling together and not tolerating violence."

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner received £1.6m last year to launch its VRU, while West Yorkshire similarly was given £3.4m.

It comes as West Yorkshire was recently revealed to have seen a ten per cent drop in knife crime over the past year in statistics published last month.

However, a report this week has urged the Home Office to consider the financial sustainability of the units, saying they will not be successful in the long-term without a consistent funding.

Rachel Staniforth, Head of South Yorkshire's Violence Reduction Unit

The evaluation found that more than 100,000 young people have received support from initiatives funded by the 18 specialist units set up to tackle serious violence.

It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel announced today (Friday) that VRUs will be distributing a further £2.9 million to hundreds of front line charities working on violence prevention projects.

Ms Patel said: “I am determined to ensure we use every possible tool to stop violent crime happening in the first place.

“A key part of that mission is protecting children and young people and preventing them from falling into the clutches of criminals.

Violence Reduction Units work with councils, health organisations and communities to reduce rates of violence such as knife and gun crime

“It is encouraging to see the progress these units are making, but we will continue our relentless drive to deliver the safer streets the law-abiding majority deserve.

“Smaller charities work tirelessly in our communities and this funding will ensure they can continue providing life-changing support.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel