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VRUS get multi-year cash and Humberside joins them

Forces facing the most violent offending in the country are getting extra cash.

Areas tackling gangs, knife crime and other violent crime have a funding pipeline beyond the next election.

The Home Office has confirmed the 18 forces with Violence Reduction Units can put long-term plans in place after funding increases were confirmed with commitments until 2025.

And Humberside is also joining the scheme.

With forces and experts already warning that acquisitive crime will increase as the cost of living bites, the cash will be seen as a signal that the government is expecting an increase in offending.

The Home Office has pledged an additional £64m for the next 12 months after research suggested they were helping cut violent crime.

It’s based on feedback from the approach taken by Essex Police in flooding resources into hotspots for short periods to bring down offending.

The units, work as multi-agency responses with education, health and government bodies to steer people aware from a life of crime.

Research carried out by Ecorys and Ipsos MORI with academics from Hull and Exeter universities assessed how effective VRUs were in their first 18 months of operation.

It found there were early indications of VRUs having an effect on violence reduction and said the results for the “longer-term preventative” measure were “encouraging”.

The research concluded that between April 2019 and September 2020, it is estimated “41,377 violence without injury offences had been prevented in funded areas, relative to non-funded areas. Alongside a reduction of 7,636 violence with injury offences, this represents potential costs avoided (for victims and society) of £385 million”, according to the findings.

Nottinghamshire is to receive a core grant of £1.4m for 2022-23 – 40 per cent higher than in previous years.  Future funding grants of £1.06m in 2023-24 and £1.04m in 2024-25 have also been confirmed.

Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has been allocated £5.86m for the year 2022/23, £4.3m for year two and £4.3m for year three.

Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire, Bev Hughes, said: “We recognise that more needs to be done to reduce serious violence in the city-region, and we hope today’s guarantee of more funding will reassure the public that we will never let up in our efforts to keep them safe.

“Access to this additional funding will allow us to continue to expand many of the initiatives that have proven to be successful in recent months. Additional funding will allow us to ensure even more young people can be supported by the project.”

Humberside was invited to apply for £1.853m of funding to establish and operate the VRU over the coming year after a successful pilot project. This includes over £400,000 of ‘Grip’ funding to support the police to take additional enforcement activity in specific locations that are most affected by violent crime.

Humberside Police Chief Constable Lee Freeman, said: “The pilot has enabled us to complete an additional 1,700 hours of policing on top of our usual policing and it is having a positive impact. We’ve seen an overall reduction in crime, better detection rates and positive outcomes for victims. Most importantly, it has given us the chance to re-connect with our communities on a personal level.

“Identifying and targeting hotspots is not a new tactic in policing, but by deploying dedicated officers in the right place at the right time, for the places with the highest volume and highest harm rating of serious violent crime, it is proving that we can have a significant positive impact on our communities.”

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