Suffolk police commissioner brands Home Office 'misguided' over funding snub to tackle youth violence
Home Office chiefs who failed to give a single penny to Suffolk in their latest £100-million pot to tackle youth violence have been branded 'misguided' by the county’s police and crime commissioner.
During Friday’s Suffolk Public Sector Leaders (SPSL) gathering of council leaders and chief executives, PCC Tim Passmore hit out at the Home Office’s cash allocation of £100m to tackle knife crime, which was split between just a handful of police forces.
The SPSL group is now set to write to the Home Office outlining its anger.
“Once again, I am deeply disturbed that the Home Office has chosen to ignore requests for funding,” Mr Passmore told the gathering.
“The funding has gone once again to urban areas and I am pretty sick and tired of this.
“Somehow, we have to make sure the Home Office understands if we put the money into urban areas only, the big concern I have is there will be displacement into rural areas like Suffolk.
“I think they are completely misguided – we didn’t get 1p.
“It’s not from lack of trying or lobbying and it will not do.”
The group provided £500,000 of funding for a two-year scheme to tackle urban gang violence and county lines, which has helped set up a multi-agency team of social workers, psychologists, community engagement officers and other public sector workers, in place since October.
The team works to divert youngsters at risk of falling in with gangs away from drugs and crime.
It has also emerged that a monthly panel meets in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft where youngsters at risk are given action plans to safeguard them.
The funding will run until around October 2020.
Latest figures suggest there are 28 county lines operating in Suffolk – 18 of which are running in the west of the county.
Paul West, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for Ipswich, communities and waste, said: “Although Suffolk is a safer place than somewhere like London, we owe it to the residents of Suffolk that we continue to tackle this problem in the years ahead.
“There has been some early success, but much more to do in the next year and then after that.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The Government is determined to tackle the scourge of serious violence and is taking action to do so.
“That is why police funding is increasing by more than £1 billion, including council tax and the £100 million serious violence fund.
“This year, the Suffolk PCC received £125 million as a result of the police funding settlement for 2019/20, an increase of £9 million from last year.”
More by this authorJason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter