The Home Secretary has announced more than £800,000 of funding to spend on early intervention youth projects.
£392,700 has been given to Staffordshire Police, Fire and Rescue, and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, and £410,000 has been allocated to Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), David Keane, to fund projects that tackles the root causes of serious violence among children and young people.
In Staffordshire, it will involve a multi-agency approach to prevent young people from committing crime, including working with schools, supporting young people to develop resilience, and providing support to parents and families.
Matthew Ellis said: “It is important for us to work together to prevent young people being lured into an environment of knives, 'gangs' and violence.
“It is complex, but often involves vulnerable youngsters who don't have the guidance or the support they need at a critical time in their lives.
“This extra money from the Government, on top of substantial sums I'm already investing locally, will help to tackle the issues now and also for the longer term. We must, however, be clear that this has to be a long term strategy, not just a short term fix.”
In Cheshire, the project will involve a new outreach team to work with young people involved in drug dealing, and working with schools and families to keep young people at risk of falling into crime in mainstream settings and in positive alternative activities.
A programme of training will also be delivered to school staff so they are enabled to support and divert young people away from gang associated violence.
David Keane said: “Cheshire Constabulary and partners are very committed to protecting the public of Cheshire, and I am really pleased that we have managed to secure a significant funding boost for Cheshire to support our objectives to prevent serious organised crime and protect the vulnerable.
“The Home Office funding will provide the capacity for enhanced preventative working with young people aged 11 to 17 years who are at high risk of exploitation by criminals as a consequence of County Lines drug dealing, or other forms of violent organised crime in Cheshire.
“This ambitious approach will focus on early interventions in the lives of young people; reducing their personal risk from violent crime and providing them with positive ‘alternatives’ which will significantly enhance their future prospects as well as making our communities a safer place.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “In order to put an end to this senseless violence we must have a long-term plan that stops young people from turning to a life of crime in the first place.
“That’s why our Serious Violence Strategy combines early intervention with tough law enforcement.
“This money will play a vital role in providing vulnerable young people in Staffordshire and Cheshire with support and opportunities that will steer them away from a life of crime.”
The news comes after the Home Secretary today chaired another Serious Violence Taskforce to discuss the importance of early intervention youth projects.
Mr Javid also announced an additional £1.5 million of funding for the third year of the Anti-Knife Crime Community Fund.
The money will go towards community projects to reduce knife crime and have a positive impact on young people at risk of carrying a knife and committing crime. The fund has already supported 115 projects over the two years it has been running, to provide a wide range of approaches that help young people avoid being drawn into knife crime in their local communities.