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West Midlands PCC has been awarded £3.37 million of funding to set up a violence reduction unit, the Government has announced today (Monday 12 August).

The new unit will bring together local police, health and education professionals to understand the causes of serious violence in West Midlands and agree a co-ordinated response.  

West Midlands PCC will spend the cash on a number of short and long-term projects aimed at diverting people away from violence, including working with schools and GP practices and investing in a summer sports programme for at-risk young people.

Dr Sue Ibbotson, Regional Director of Public Health England and Sarah Boycott, Assistant Chief Constable at West Midlands Police will also be involved in the running of the unit.

The announcement follows a roundtable at Downing Street, hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, bringing together the police, probation and prison leaders to discuss how to cut crime and improve the criminal justice system.

The Prime Minister has vowed to give police the powers and resources they need to urgently tackle serious violence, cut crime and target county lines gangs.

Recruitment of 20,000 new police officers – a commitment made by the Prime Minister when he took office – will begin next month. Yesterday the Home Secretary confirmed that all 43 police forces in England and Wales can use enhanced stop and search powers.

Kit Malthouse, Policing Minister said:

“I am deeply concerned about the rise in knife crime that we have seen across the country.

“While tough law enforcement plays a vital role, all parts of the community must work together to understand and address the underlying causes of violent crime.

“The new Violence Reduction Unit in West Midlands will aim to ensure that there is a strong, local multi-agency approach to this issue and I am confident it will deliver real results.”

West Midlands PCC David Jamieson said:

“I will be working with others and using this money to ensure our young people aren’t caught up in a cycle of violence and have real alternatives and better life chances.

“I have worked closely with Public Health England, local authorities and communities on this bid and would like to place on record my thanks to them all. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them and would also like to thank the region’s MPs and Councillors who have been so supportive.

“We all need to work together to tackle the root causes of violent crime. The Unit will be focussing on providing opportunities for young people and diverting them from crime, as part of a public health approach.

“I am working closely with the Home Office to ensure this funding is sustainable in future years.”

The cash for the unit comes from £35 million that was put aside from the £100 million serious violence fund to tackle serious violence.

It was awarded to West Midlands PCC after they submitted a successful bid for the provisional allocation of the funding. 

It is in addition to a total of £63.4 million that was given to the eighteen forces for additional officer deployments, improved intelligence, and short-term operational actions such as targeting habitual knife carriers.

Another £1.6 million of the surge fund is being spent on ensuring forces collect better data to support their planning and ensure targeted action.

The funding is on top of the £568.8 million West Midlands Police is receiving as a result of the police funding settlement for 2019/20, including council tax.

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