West Mids Police Pumps Millions Into Tackling Knife Crime

24 June 2019, 08:26 | Updated: 24 June 2019, 08:27

Knife crime

West Mids Police, the country's second largest police foce, has revealed how it'll spend a huge cash injection to fight the "national emergency" of knife crime and youth violence.

The Home Office allocated £7.6 million in extra funding to them in May, and the force has now said "the lion's share" of the cash will be "ploughed into prevention and enforcement".

An initial 163,400 policing hours will be funded in the first year of Project Guardian, with existing officers working extra time in Birmingham's night-time economy and helping neighbourhood teams with youth violence prevention and enforcement.

The project will employ 75 new "police staff investigators" in order to relieve pressure on front line officers so they can focus on preventing youth violence.

The cash injection will also help purchase 15 extra squad cars as well as metal detecting "knife wands", while £1.5 million will be allocated for mediation.

The project will also give young people ownership of a £100,000 pot that they can use to establish initiatives to improve their communities.

"As a force we cannot prevent youth violence alone," chief constable Dave Thompson said in a statement.

"The project is focused on how to build extra capacity within the force dedicated to combating youth violence, whether that's by more arrests, better management of offenders, education and diversion for young people or by building the best case files that we can."

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), David Jamieson, echoed that youth violence "is not an issue that will be solved by enforcement alone".

"Earlier this year I declared knife crime to be a national emergency. Project Guardian is a vital part of West Midlands Police's response to that emergency," Mr Jamieson said.