The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, today (Tuesday 18 June) announced that the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has been provisionally allocated £1.6 million to set up a violence reduction unit.

The violence reduction unit will bring together South Yorkshire Police, local authorities, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key partners to tackle violent crime.

Recognising that the problem of serious violence cannot be solved through law enforcement efforts alone, the unit will take a public health approach to address the underlying causes of violent crime.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are losing too many young lives to the horrors of serious violence and it’s crucial that all parts of our society work together to tackle it head-on.

“The violence reduction unit that is being set up in South Yorkshire with this additional funding will help do this. It will bring together experts from South Yorkshire Police, local authorities, health professionals, community leaders and other key partners to crack down on the root causes of knife crime.”

The extra cash comes from £35 million that was set aside from the £100 million fund to tackle serious violence. It has been provisionally allocated to 18 PCCs in areas that are worst affected by serious violence, and will be spent in partnership with local authority, health and education partners across England and Wales.

It comes after a total of £63.4 million was given to the forces for additional officer deployments, improved intelligence, and short-term operational actions such as targeting habitual knife carriers.

The remaining £1.6 million is being spent on ensuring forces collect better data to support their planning and ensure targeted action.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I welcome any additional funding for South Yorkshire Police and partners to tackle the scourge of violent crime.

“South Yorkshire Police and partners have been working together for sometime to identify the violent crime hot spots and to understand the factors that lead people towards violence, whether that is in the home or in the community.

“I support the idea of a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) as a way of co-ordinating these responses and doing more; I will be looking to partners to help.  I also support the ‘public health’ approach to violent crime. This means treating violence as if it were a disease whose spread can be stopped if we tackle the causes of the disease and not just the disease itself.

“The experience elsewhere  is that any serious attempt to reduce violent crime has to be sustained over a number of years. In  Glasgow, for example, the VRU was first established in 2005 with a ten year strategy – which dramatically cut homicides and stabbings in the city.

“I will shortly be drawing partners together to discuss how best we can use this funding to enable South Yorkshire to be a safe place for all citizens.”

The provisional funding is on top of the £261.8 million South Yorkshire Police is receiving as a result of the police funding settlement for 2019/20, including council tax. The Home Office will work closely with the violence reduction units to assess how the funding is being used to strengthen the response to serious violence.

The £100 million Serious Violence Fund was announced by the government in the March Spring Statement.