18 police forces, including West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire, to share £30 million funding pot to tackle violent hotspots

Police are to be given an extra £30 million funding pot to target violence hotspots in a bid to crack down on murders, knife crime and other serious offences, the Government has announced today.

Police are to be given an extra £30 million funding pot to target violence hotspots in a bid to crack down on murders, knife crime and other serious offences.

The money is set to be made available to forces in parts of England and Wales which are “most affected by serious violence”, the Home Office has said, with both West Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Police earmarked for a sum.

The money will be subject to approval by the department once police chiefs submit plans on how to spend it.

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Home Secretary Priti Patel said the spending is part of more than £130 million being made available in the coming year to tackle violent crime and make Britain safer.

It will also pay for renewing and expanding other existing projects - like those challenging the behaviour of domestic abusers and paying for police investigations into gang material on social media - as well as funding other new schemes, like £23 million being set aside for more early intervention programmes to steer young people away from a life of crime.

As part of these projects there are plans for trained professionals to intervene and provide support to youngsters when they are taken into police custody or end up in hospital in accident and emergency, the Home Office said.

The announcement comes ahead of the introduction of a criminal justice Bill which will seek to give police more stop and search powers to tackle those known to carry knives and other weapons.

The Bill also seeks to place a duty on public bodies, like the police and education authorities, to work together to address violence, as well as require councils to review deaths where weapons like knives are involved to help prevent more tragedies in future.

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Chair of the South Yorkshire Police Federation Steve Kent said he welcomed the force sharing part of a £30 million funding pot to tackle serious crime with caution.

Mr Kent, who represents the force’s rank and file officers, said: “This money is cautiously welcomed.

“When you divide that amount between all the forces, it’s not the largest amount, but it is a step in the right direction.

“The Government, however, needs to recognise that there has got to be a continued investment in policing.

The other forces receiving a share of the £30 million funding along with South Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Police include: The Metropolitan Police, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Northumbria, Thames Valley, Lancashire, Essex, Avon and Somerset, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Sussex, Hampshire and South Wales.

In the past two years £100 million of such funding has resulted in more than 100,000 weapons being seized and has seen thousands of hours of police activity like increased patrols and searches, the Home Office said.

Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s work on serious violent crime, welcomed the funding and said tackling serious violence was a “priority” for forces.

She added: “Even during the pandemic we have seen serious street-based violence continue and particularly violence involving young people as both victims and perpetrators.”