Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach today (Tues 12 March) announced the recipients of his £100k fund to tackle knife crime as a national crackdown operation commenced.
The PCC, who has pledged to get to the core of the knife crime epidemic sweeping Britain’s streets, announced a series of funding grants for projects which work directly with young people with the aim of turning them away from violence and gang life.
It comes as police forces nationwide launched a weeklong crackdown using surrender bins, stop and search tactics and weapons sweeps to address the surge in violence as part of Operation Sceptre.
This week, the PCC joined calls from Labour MPs and Police and Crime Commissioners from across the country urging Prime Minister Theresa May to urgently convene the Cobra Committee, put 10,000 police officers back on the streets and begin reinvesting in critical youth diversionary services which have been drastically cut during the years of austerity.
“We have to do more to protect young people from knife crime and violence,” said Willy Bach.
“There are deep-rooted psychological and social problems that compel people to carry knives and unless these are confronted by experienced youth workers - and young people are given other choices for the future - then we will continue to see bloodshed and senseless deaths on our streets.
“This £100,000 fund is just the start. We need the Government to take our calls for action seriously and to commit meaningful resources that will not only expand proactive police work but will give young people realistic goals and aspirations which don’t involve violence or brutality. Only then will this tide of brutality end.”
Superintendent Shane O’Neill, who leads the force’s response to knife crime, said; “The police can’t tackle the problem of knife crime alone and we work closely with a range of other agencies to work with, and educate, young people about the dangers of carrying a knife. This funding will give a range of projects a financial boost and help them continue their work diverting young people away from carrying a knife.”
Among those organisations already confirmed as successful in the PCC’s funding scheme is Leicester Riders for its youth engagement work, online learning provider E2 Online, Go-Getta CIC with its Words over Weapons project and vocational training provider Trans4m. A full list of recipients can be found here.
The new funding, which has been allocated from reserves, was announced late last year at the PCC’s high-profile knife crime conference in a bid to prevent young people wasting their talents and opportunities by engaging in violence.
In a further move to save lives, the PCC also announced he had agreed to invest a further £10,000 to install Catastrophic Haemorrhage Packs in 120 frontline police vehicles.
“Violence in all its shapes and forms results in premature death, injury and lost chances,” said Willy Bach.
“Young people must be given an alternative and this Government has to recognise that youth investment is critical to providing it.”
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Posted on Tuesday 12th March 2019