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An extra £2 million will be spent in Coventry and Wolverhampton to help tackle youth violence.

The money will be used to target mostly young people who are suspected of or are already impacted by gangs or county lines.

Once the young person has been identified, a team of professionals will then seek to understand the reasons why they are vulnerable and will provide intensive support to them and their families. 

This often involves tackling the root causes of crime, including housing issues, limited access to education, ill health, debt or addiction.

Officers and staff are carefully selected for the programme and are provided specialist training and will be available to provide 24-hour support to those that need it.

This programme provides the opportunity to offer support to young people who need it the most and who may not have been able to access it previously. They will be warned of the consequences of continuing their behaviour and will be provided with all of the support that they need to divert them into more purposeful activities and positive outcomes.

Funding for the scheme has been secured after the West Midlands Violence Reduction Partnership successfully bid for cash from the Youth Endowment Fund and the Home Office.

The approach is known as ‘focused deterrence’ and recognises that young people who commit crime have often experienced traumatic childhood experiences and may make them more vulnerable to addiction, debt and violence.

The Youth Endowment Fund says focused deterrence has helped reduce crime by 33% in the past.

West Midlands Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner, Tom McNeil, said: “After years of cuts, I’m pleased to see some investment being made in the West Midlands to tackle the causes of crime.

“We know we can’t simply arrest our way out of the problem and instead need to tackle the factors which lead young people to commit violence.

“We’ll be ensuring this money is spent wisely.”

John Gregg, Director of Children’s Services at Coventry City Council, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to provide intensive support to some of our most vulnerable young people impacted by trauma and violence who may become trapped in the cycle of offending. 

“It will ensure that agencies are working effectively together and really understand the needs of the young person and enable the right support to be put into place. 

“This will build on existing work already happening to prevent and reduce violence.

Chief Inspector Daryl Lion is based in Coventry. He said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for the West Midlands and I am fortunate to be the project manager for both Wolverhampton and Coventry.

“The programme will be subject to the most intensive and in-depth independent evaluation of this type of programme anywhere in the world which will demonstrate in time its effectiveness building on previous successes.”

Jon Yates, Executive Director at the Youth Endowment Fund, said: “When we get the police and the community to work together, we can identify and support young people and pull them away from crime and violence.

“This has worked across the world. We now need to get it working in England. Together, we can make sure that every child’s life is free from violence.” 

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