West Yorkshire receives £3M funding boost to tackle serious violence (18 April 2019)

The Home Office has announced that West Yorkshire is to receive £3 million to help strengthen the response to serious violence.

It comes from a share of £51 million, allocated to police forces across the country.

The 'surge funding' is intended to support operational activities through increased patrols and weapon sweeps, equipment for officers and overtime.

This additional money is part of the £100 million Serious Violence Fund announced by the Government in March.

In response to the announcement, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson said:

"Any additional investment to tackle the scourge of knife and violent crime is welcome and this money will help to bolster our response here in West Yorkshire, albeit we are still awaiting further announcements on the full use and allocation of all the funding which is frustrating given that we are already into the new financial year.

"I personally attended a recent summit with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street on the subject of serious youth violence where I raised many of the experiences locally and why a longer term commitment is so crucial. 

"It also builds on many of the discussions which I have been having at a national level through the Home Office Serious Violence Task Force and through the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) which I Chair.

"I have been keen to see this additional funding arrive as soon as possible, so that West Yorkshire Police can begin the targeted operational and enforcement activity that will start to make a tangible difference on the ground in tackling knife and violent crime.

"The additional £3m will need to be used wisely to maximise its impact and compliment the many other important projects already taking place locally with police and partners to address serious violence throughout West Yorkshire.

"As I have said before though, it will be only through sustained early intervention and prevention work with our young people, schools, partners and communities that we will be able to effectively tackle knife and violent crime.

"I will continue to highlight the need for a long term whole system approach by Government, which needs to be put in place."

West Yorkshire Police, Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Russ Foster added:  

 "We welcome the announcement of additional funding and are considering how we can best use it to maximum effect in order to bolster current activity and further protect the communities we serve.

 "We are already proactively targeting knife crime, from enforcement as part of the national Operation Sceptre and targeted patrols in hotspot areas, to working with partners to devise further diversionary activities.

 "These give young people somewhere to go and something to do, the aim being to reduce their risk of being drawn into the knife crime culture. Our partner agencies have a key role to play in early intervention with young people and part of our wider long term approach is also to disrupt those involved in crime and violent crime, so that offences do not happen in the first place.

 "Carrying a knife is not the answer - young people need to realise that by doing so they simply increase, not reduce, their risk of being a victim of knife crime. We are working closely with schools, who are supporting our work to drive this message home and reach children at an early age."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019