Within the South East, Sussex and Hampshire police force areas will each receive up to £880,000 in funding, while Kent and Thames Valley police force areas will each receive up to £1.16 million in funding.
Violence Reduction Units bring together organisations across local communities to tackle violent crime and address its underlying causes. They also help fund vital local projects that work to prevent children and young people from being drawn into serious violence.
The funding, which is for 2021/22, marks the third year of funding for 18 units across England and Wales in areas worst affected by serious violence. This takes the total invested nationally to £105.5 million and further delivers on the Government’s pledge to crack down on violent crime.
In Hampshire, the VRU has provided phone counselling to young people with low self-esteem, a therapeutic allotment gardening project for young people at risk of being excluded from school and early help and prevention work with families and young people at risk of criminal exploitation.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse has said:
“We are committed to tackling crime in our communities and stopping young lives being shattered by violence.
“Violence Reduction Units in the South East are a key part of this, bringing together local leaders in health, education, police and other agencies to address the root causes of serious violence.
“This funding will allow the vital long-term work they have already started to continue, in order to get a grip on this crucial issue and drive down violent crime.”
In addition to the funding announced this week, more than £2 million is being made available nationally via a winter contingency fund package. This money is being delivered through Violence Reduction Units to local charities and social enterprises that support vulnerable young people at risk of involvement in violence through the lockdown period.
The money forms part of a wider government drive to tackle crime and make communities safer, which includes bringing in 20,000 additional police officers over the next 3 years, 6,620 of which have already been recruited.
Since 2019, the Government has also invested £106.5 million to boost police operational capacity in the 18 police forces worst affected by serious violence. This is separate to the funding for Violence Reduction Units.