Policing boss’s £100k fund in bid to tackle knife crime
Cash made available by the Police and Crime Commissioner
POLICE and crime commissioner Lord (Willy) Bach is making £100,000 available to groups that could help combat knife crime in Leicestershire.
The Labour peer, pictured, announced the measure at a conference he, his staff and Crimestoppers hosted this week to discuss the issues surrounding carrying knives.
A number of police and justice experts attended the event at Grace Road’s cricket ground on Tuesday where Lord Bach said he would take £100,000 from his office’s budget reserves to stem the knife crime epidemic
Non-police organisations – charities, businesses and volunteer groups – will be able to bid for a share of the cash over the next two years and will receive cash if they can persuade the commissioner they have worthwhile ideas.
Lord Bach said he was still angry Leicestershire Police was denied any of the £17.7 million committed by the Government to other forces to divert children and young people away from violent crime.
He said: “Across the country, knife crime has reached epidemic levels. It poses one of the most serious risks to young people’s safety today.
“It cuts short the opportunities and prospects of young people, preventing them from reaching their full potential.
“I do not believe that we can arrest our way out of this problem. Tougher sentences and robust policing will certainly help, but it has to start at home. “And it has to start early. “We have to give young people healthy foundations on which they can build their lives and that means working with parents, schools and youth workers to manage aggression effectively when it presents itself and give young people positive behaviour strategies to cope with life.
“I was astonished our recent bid for funding from the Home Office Early Intervention Youth Fund was turned down, alongside all but one of the other East Midlands forces, but while I will continue to fight our corner for more funding I simply cannot sit back and allow more lives to be maimed.
“Knife crime will never be solved in a day but we must start somewhere.
“That is why I’m launching this new fund.”
Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon said: “Along with our operational activities, educating young people about the dangers of knife crime is among the many important elements of the work we do at Leicestershire Police.
“We know it can devastate communities and that’s why, through our #LivesNotKnives campaign, we have taken our messages directly into schools and other settings aimed at young people.
“This includes the message that carrying a knife is not a status symbol and can come with severe penalties.
“Not only that but statistically, carrying a knife puts them more at risk of becoming a victim of knife crime themselves.
“Our recent collaboration with Leicester City Football Club saw us create a film with a selection of footballers appealing to young people to “make the right choice” and work together as part of team to keep themselves safe as well as their communities.”
On top of the new £100,000 fund, Lord Bach is paying for 120 police vehicles to be fitted with trauma packs to better equip officers who need to help people with serious injuries.
They contain equipment that will improves officers capacity to offer immediate treatment to casualties.