THE Government has awarded £3.37m to Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to build on the region's Violent Reduction Unit.

The unit brings was set up to understand the causes of serious violence in Greater Manchester and agree a co-ordinated response.

Local police, youth workers, health and education professionals are involved in the unit.

The mayor, who is Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner, will spend the cash on short and long-term projects aimed at diverting people away from violence.

This includes work with young people at risk of committing crime or who are known to have committed offences or carry knives.

The unit will also work with schools to provide support to young people at risk of being excluded from school.

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The announcement follows a round table at Downing Street, hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

This brought together the police, probation and prison leaders to discuss how to cut crime and improve the criminal justice system.

The Prime Minister has vowed to give police the powers and resources they need to urgently tackle serious violence, cut crime and target county lines gangs.

Recruitment of 20,000 new police officers – a commitment made by the Prime Minister when he took office – will begin next month.

Yesterday, Sunday, the Home Secretary confirmed that all 43 police forces in England and Wales can use enhanced stop and search powers.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “I am deeply concerned about the rise in knife crime that we have seen across the country.

“While tough law enforcement plays a vital role, all parts of the community must work together to understand and address the underlying causes of violent crime.

“The new Violence Reduction Unit in Greater Manchester will aim to ensure that there is a strong, local multi-agency approach to this issue and I am confident it will deliver real results.”

The cash for the unit comes from £35 million that was put aside from the £100 million serious violence fund to tackle serious violence.

It was awarded to the Mayor of Greater Manchester after they submitted a successful bid for the provisional allocation of the funding.

It is in addition to a total of £63.4 million that was given to the eighteen forces for additional officer deployments, improved intelligence, and short-term operational actions such as targeting habitual knife carriers.

Another £1.6 million of the surge fund is being spent on ensuring forces collect better data to support their planning and ensure targeted action.

The funding is on top of the £591.8 million Greater Manchester Police is receiving as a result of the police funding settlement for 2019/20, including council tax.

Leigh Journal:

Deputy mayor of Greater Manchester for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Bev Hughes, said: “Tackling serious violence needs a partnership approach. In Greater Manchester, we already have our Violent Crime Unit in place, bringing together police, local authorities, the voluntary sector, and education, health and youth justice partners.

“This funding will allow us to build on this approach and work more closely together to understand the causes and then respond appropriately, focussing on prevention, early intervention and targeted support.

“We will only succeed through collaboration and it has been really encouraging that key partners across the city-region have been throwing their support behind the programme.

“Greater Manchester is already doing so much good work to tackle serious violence, with money already being spent on additional frontline policing, targeted at the areas of Greater Manchester where there are particular issues with violent crime, including knife crime and personal robberies.

"However, if we can drive young people away from violence at the earliest possible opportunity we can make a real difference to them and our communities.”