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Extra funding from Home Office to tackle serious violence in Avon and Somerset

Photo: Sue Mountstevens

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens has been awarded £1.16m Home Office funding to introduce Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) across Avon and Somerset to tackle serious violence.

It follows the preparation of a successful proposal put together by a range of agencies after the announcement by the Home Office in June, which saw £35m provisionally allocated to PCCs in 18 police areas as part of the government’s Serious Violence Strategy

The VRUs will bring together different organisations including the police, local government, education, health, community leaders and other key partners to tackle violent crime by understanding its root causes.

The PCC has decided to allocate VRU funding to the five local authority areas within Avon and Somerset to account for the different levels and nature of serious violence in each area as well as crucially, broader opportunities for prevention and early intervention.

Following the announcement, PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “This additional funding to go towards establishing VRUs is an important step as part of longer term work to reduce the harm being caused by serious violence. Concerns quite rightly have been growing across the country as we hear of more tragic instances of lives being lost and, in particular, young people both committing and coming to harm.

“With this in mind, the VRUs will be tasked with identifying the drivers of serious violence and we will work in collaboration with our partners to develop a co-ordinated response to tackle them. What is so important about this initiative is that it bring a wide range of agencies together – I am clear that the police cannot solve this problem alone. We need to ensure that together we are capitalising on opportunities to identify vulnerability and intervene early to prevent the harm that violence causes to individuals, communities and society as a whole.”

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “To beat knife crime we must do two things: first we need assertive, high profile police enforcement and second, we need a coordinated approach to the long term solutions to violence in society, especially amongst the young. These new units should help us get results on both.”

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