The policing minister has today, (Monday, 12 August 2019) announced that South Yorkshire have been awarded £1.6m funding to set up a violence reduction unit (VRU).

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.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “If serious crime is to be reduced we need to tackle not only those who are committing crimes now but also find ways of steering people away from crime in the first place.

“This is the approach we are following in South Yorkshire: tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.

“The funding the government has given us this year enables us to intensify our activities in both respects.

“The £1.6m funding allows us to develop further a South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU). This allows me, as Police and Crime Commissioner, to bring together a range of partners: police, youth offending teams, clinical commissioning groups, Public Health, local authorities, education groups and the voluntary sector. Together we will identify and support projects that will stop people, especially young people, getting involved in crime in the first place or enable them to break with crime if they are already offending.

“We have had to act fast and have appointed a co-ordinator, to take the work forward at pace. The first meeting of the VRU Strategic Board will be in September.

“The only anxiety I have is that this money is just for the eight months to March 2020. If the VRU is to have sustainable success it must be funded over a number of years. The Scottish VRU, on which this is based, has a ten year strategy funded by the Scottish government. We look, therefore, for this funding to be continued in the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review when this is announced in the autumn.

“At the same time, South Yorkshire Police are using £2.58m awarded earlier in the year to tackle those who are already involved in serious and violent crime – targeting those who carry knives, greater use of stop-search and disrupting the activities of criminal gangs. 

“In this way, by tackling crime and its root causes, we will reduce serious and violent crime across the county and keep the people of South Yorkshire safe.”