Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has responded to the Home Office's latest announcement on funding to tackle serious violence.
An additional £41.5m is being made available to the 18 police forces deemed by the Home Office to have significant issues with serious violence. Cleveland has once again not featured on this list, despite having the third highest levels of recorded violent crime (per head of the population) in the country.
Home Secretary Priti Patel made a pledge at the National Police Chiefs' Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners in London yesterday. Mr Coppinger attended the Conference and raised his concerns on the floor with the Shadow Home Secretary and personally with Victoria Egan, Head of Serious Violence Unit at the Home Office.
The Commissioner has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel on two occasions in the last seven months to raise the issue.
Mr Coppinger said: “I’m concerned to hear that once again, Cleveland will not receive any funding from the Home Office to tackle our high levels of serious violent crime, of which we have the third highest level, per head of population, in the country.
“It’s frustrating that the Home Secretary did not accept an invitation to our crisis summit on serious violence earlier this month and her recent response to my letters did not effectively address our concerns that Cleveland is being left behind. Today’s announcement proves this continues to be the case.
“There appears to be no commitment to support the work we’ve been doing since last year to respond to this most serious issue, which has been raised by local MPs of both major political parties, local community groups and myself as Police and Crime Commissioner. Funding for this work will cease at the end of March and I have serious worries about what the future may hold.
“Cleveland Police are playing their part in responding to and investigating serious crimes when they occur. However without significant investment from national government, we are unable to get ahead of this issue and intervene with young people at risk of serious violence at the earliest opportunity. A Violence Reduction Unit would help us do that.
“It’s not right that Cleveland residents must face daily headlines about yet another violent crime or another life lost. It’s time the Home Office step up and give Cleveland the money they need to save lives and protect communities.”
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Posted on Thursday 27th February 2020