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The Home Office published the Serious Violence Strategy on 9 April 2018, which it has described as looking at “the root causes of the problem and how to support young people to lead productive lives away from violence” as well as at law enforcement.

Action in the Strategy is centred on 4 main themes:

  • tackling county lines and misuse of drugs
  • early intervention and prevention
  • supporting communities and local partnerships
  • law enforcement and the criminal justice response

A major focus of the Strategy is early intervention and prevention, which aims to catch young people before they go down the wrong path and to encourage them to make positive choices.

The Strategy includes a new £11 million Early Intervention Youth Fund to support communities for early intervention and prevention with young people. The Fund was open for bids over the summer of 2018, and successful applicants were announced in November 2018: see Transparency data – Early Intervention Youth Fund: successful bids, 10 November 2018.

The Government has described the Strategy as taking a “public health approach” to serious violence.  However, in evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, which is currently conducting an Inquiry into serious violence, police representatives have commented that although the Strategy “alludes” to public health, it is not yet a public health-based strategy and greater coordination and capacity are needed.

In October 2018 the Home Secretary announced a number of new measures aimed at tackling serious violence. These included:

  • taking steps to introduce a statutory duty for all agencies – including health, education, social services, local government and housing, as well as law enforcement – to tackle serious violence.
  • launching a £200 million endowment fund, to target young people at risk of starting a life of crime and violence; and
  • conducting a major review of the market for illegal drugs.

All of these measures have now made some progress, as the Home Secretary set out in a recent Written Statement following a Downing Street summit on serious youth violence. 

In March 2019, the Chancellor announced additional funding of £100 million for the police in his Spring Statement, with some of this being used to fund Violence Reduction Units “in worst affected areas”.  In evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick described the £100 million as a “reasonably small amount”, and that “other resources” needed to be considered alongside policing resources.

In March 2019 the Home Office also announced that it was expanding the ability of a number of police forces to conduct stop and search activity under section 60 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.  This development has received a mixed response.

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