Bedfordshire Police awarded further £1m to tackle knife crime

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Kempston Community Weapons Sweep March 2019 Police holding knife

Bedfordshire Police have been awarded a further £1m from the home office to tackle serious violence and knife crime. That’s on top of the £4.571m already secured late last year.

Bedfordshire’s Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire is the national policing lead for serious violence and has lobbied hard to outline the challenges in Bedfordshire. She said: “We are delighted to have secured this additional funding to help tackle serious violence – particularly knife crime.

“Bedfordshire has seen a number of absolutely horrific incidents over the past year, including two teenage boys being murdered on our streets and many more incidents which have left people with horrendous injuries.

“We are absolutely committed to tackling the root cause of these issues, to keep our young people safe and divert them away from crime.

“We will now look at how best to spend this extra funding, but a sustainable partnership approach focused on enforcement and prevention is absolutely crucial in reducing the level of serious violence which is destroying lives.”

The Home Office fund is part of £100m available nationally to tackle serious violence and has been awarded after several high profile incidents, across Bedfordshire, including the brutal murder of 16-year-old Cemeren Yilmaz in Bedford.

Three 15-year-olds and a 20-year-old man were convicted of the crime last week and are awaiting sentencing.

The Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, also lobbied hard for Bedfordshire Police to receive additional funding.

She added: “ACC Jackie Sebire has been a hugely effective voice at the table as the national lead on Serious Violence in arguing for Bedfordshire Police’s latest £1m uplift from Government to assist in the battle against serious violence, and knife crime in particular…

“I must now provide a plan to Government to prove that I will spend the money wisely which must be submitted before the end of May.

“I will do so and also make our case for a further share of £65m available to police forces in England and Wales to fight the scourge of knife violence which is blighting a generation.”

The £1m award which covers 2019/20 comes on top of PCC Holloway’s successful application for a £4.571m Home Office Special Grant to help Bedfordshire Police to tackle gun, gang and knife crime which was awarded in December 2018.

Commenting on the awards, National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair Martin Hewitt said: “The announcement of additional funding for the most affected police forces to tackle serious violence is welcome.

“This will help forces to carry out activity that we know works, such as increasing the number of officers available to carry out targeted patrols in crime hotspots and increasing our use of stop and search.

“Chief Constables in these areas will now consider how best to use their additional resources. Police tactics alone will not prevent violence however, and any solutions must involve Government, education, health, social services and communities themselves.”

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