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Wednesday 11 April 2018, 12:46 PM
  • “Violent crime cannot simply be seen as being about gangs and drugs. It crosses many different sections of our society and touches on many things including domestic abuse and mental health”, says Martin Surl
  • Prominence given to importance of neighbourhood policing long overdue says PCC
  • In Gloucestershire since 2013,  the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has invested nearly £4.5m* through the police and crime plan in schemes and projects aimed at turning young people away from crime, rising to nearly £6m by 2021
  • Violent crime locally is now being looked at by Safer Gloucestershire, the county’s new community safety body

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl has welcomed the Government’s latest initiative to tackle violent crime but says it won’t be resolved just by putting more officers on the street.

“Violent crime cannot simply be seen as being about gangs and drugs. It crosses many different sections of our society and touches on many things including domestic abuse and mental health", Said Mr. Surl.

“I am pleased the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy stresses the importance of neighbourhood policing as I have long argued the benefits of a renewed police presence in our communities. But while I welcome the Government’s commitment, delivering it in Gloucestershire with 300 fewer officers will be difficult and is the challenge I have set the Chief Constable”.

Mr. Surl was among a number of PCCs who met with the Home Secretary to discuss the development of a national strategy to tackle violence crime. With gun and knife crime increasing across the country, of particular concern were figures showing the biggest increase was in the 10-17 age range.

In Gloucestershire since 2013, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has invested nearly £4.5m* through the police and crime plan in schemes and projects aimed at turning young people away from crime and helping them become responsible adults.  That figure is due to rise to almost £6m* over the next three years.

 

Forest Fighting Fit 

Mr. Surl said, “Gloucestershire is still one of the safest places in the country but the knife crime summit last year, and subsequent research, has given us a good idea of the extent of the problem locally and what is being done by some to tackle it. That gives us a basis on what we do next.

“In Gloucestershire, we see the value in early intervention and prevention.  Many of the groups and organisations supported through the Commissioner’s Fund like Great Expectations, the Hollie Gazzard Trust, Forest Fighting Fit, the Aston Project and Fearless from Knife Crime look to address some of the issues around violent crime.

Hollie Gazzard

“Through education we are hoping to show our young people the dangers of carrying weapons. In the last year, the Fearless from Knife Crime project has visited 21 schools in the county and spoken to nearly 3 thousand students, giving them an insight into how violent crime can destroy lives.

 

Students are lectured in school about the dangers of carrying knives

“I am pleased the issue of violent crime in our county is now being looked at by Safer Gloucestershire, the county’s new community safety body, because the police and the OPCC alone cannot solve the issue. It needs to be part a national approach which is thought through and properly resourced”.

Temporary Superintendent Emma Davies, who chairs the working group looking at Violence Prevention for Safer Gloucestershire, said:  “We’ve got key partners from the statutory and voluntary sector along with people with lived experience around the table to look at what our county approach should be to tackling violent crime.   “There are so many different factors to take into consideration. But I think we need to understand the full picture and then work out how we can all play our part”.

*Table shows annual Commissioner’s Fund grants to projects under the Young People Becoming Adults priority of the Police and Crime Plan 2013 - 2021

2013/14

£549,613

2014/15

£838,870

2015/16

£1,042,737

2016/17

£917,128

2017/18

£1,054,023

2018/19

£799,524

2019/20

£368,539

2020/21

£297,885

total

£5,868,319

 You can read the 2018 review of Knife Crime here.

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