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Monday, 30 July 2018

Funding doubled for youth crime prevention scheme as violence rates soar

Written by David Wilcock

The Government is to double funding for a scheme to steer children and teenagers away from violence after a sharp rise in crime rates.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is to increase cash available under the Early Intervention Youth Fund (EIYF) from £11 million to £22 million.

It comes after police-recorded crime in England and Wales hit the highest level in more than a decade as killings, knife offences and robberies surged.

In the 12 months to March, forces logged 5.5 million crimes - a rise of 11% compared with the previous year and the highest tally for an equivalent period since 2005/06.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on July 19 also found that the proportion of recorded crimes that result in a charge or summons has fallen below one in 10, while officer numbers are the lowest in at least 22 years.

The Government had faced criticism that some of the spike in violent crime has been caused by lack of youth services.

Mr Javid said: "Intervening early in the lives of vulnerable young people can help focus their talents on positive activities and steer them away from the dangers of serious violence.

"This is why we are doubling our Early Intervention Youth Fund to £22 million. The fund will support groups at the heart of our communities who educate and interact with youths - and provide them with an alternative to crime.

"We all need to work together to tackle this worrying issue and our Serious Violence Strategy is helping this joined-up approach."

The EIYF is available to police and crime commissioners to fund projects in their areas, and opens for bids on Monday.

ONS figures showed that excluding cases linked to terror attacks and the Hillsborough disaster, the number of recorded homicides increased by 12% in 2017/18 from the previous year, from 627 to 701.

Police registered 40,147 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument - a 16% rise and the highest number since the start of the decade.

On Saturday senior figures at one of the largest police forces in the country raised concerns about officers' ability to tackle crime.

West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said having fewer officers to deal with rising crime was a "deadly equation" and it was an "inescapable conclusion" that cuts to policing were endangering the public.

His comments came as the force's Chief Constable David Thompson said the "reality" of modern-day policing means the public are sometimes not getting the service they expect.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Kate Collins / PA Wire.