Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed new funding granted to the Hampshire Constabulary to set up a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).
The Constabulary was successful in its bid to the Home Office and has been granted £880 000 to tackle violent crime in communities with a multi-agency approach focusing on the root of criminal activity, early intervention and youth violence.
The Violence Reduction Unit will collaborate with organisations across sectors, including health, education and social services.
This further funding is following a £1.26 million grant that was announced earlier this year and, from February, Hampshire Constabulary have recruited and are training more than 200 new officers and 65 police staff investigators to help tackle local crime issues.
Hampshire Constabulary is one of the 17 units across the country to have been successful in their bid. The funding is part and parcel of new measures to crack down on crime and serious violence nationally.
It has been announced that nationwide, 20 000 new police officers will be recruited, 10 000 new prison places will be created and stop and search powers have also been extended. Draft guidance will be published on measures in the Offensive Weapons Act that will aim to help stop knives and dangerous acids make their way onto the streets.
In addition, to ensure criminals are properly punished, a review into the prison sentences of violent and sexual offenders has been launched to assess if sentences truly reflect the severity of the crime. An extra £85 million will be given to the Crown Prosecution Service to tackle the rise in serious and violent crime across the country.
“Criminal activity destroys our local community, making residents feel unsafe on our streets. I am pleased to see that our police will get the manpower they need to ensure that my constituents can enjoy what our fantastic area has to offer without fear.
“We need to ensure that criminals are properly punished for the crimes they commit. I sincerely hope that these new measures will work to reduce the abhorrent violent and serious crime that we have seen spiking across the country.”
Hampshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane said:
"I am delighted to receive this funding which is a result of productive partnership working between those integral to tackling violence in our communities.
"Reaching young people early, building their skills and resilience and supporting them to fulfil their potential is the best way to reduce violence. A Violence Reduction Unit in Hampshire is an opportunity to bring additional capacity and focus to the existing multi-agency work going on and draw it together in order to maximise our footprint on prevention."
Hampshire Police Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney added:
“We welcome this funding and the opportunities it will give us to do even more to prevent violence in our communities.
“Violence in all its forms has a devastating effect on individuals, their families and the wider community. This money will enable us to do more to tackle those who commit violent offences in our streets and in our homes, but it will also enable us to work closely with our partners such as health and education to intervene early and prevent young people from being drawn into a life of violence.”
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."