Action to tackle gang related and serious violence in Northamptonshire has received a boost with the injection of £627,000 of new Home Office funding for a successful bid by Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Northamptonshire Police.
The money, from the Serious Youth Violence Early Intervention Fund, will be used to develop programmes to prevent vulnerable young people from becoming involved in violence and gang activity. Northamptonshire Youth Offending Service, Prospects (which provides the careers service) and Assist Trauma Care are partners in delivering the programmes.
This will see targeted interventions for young people who are at risk of becoming involved in violence, including specialist support to keep them in education or training – many young people already involved with the criminal justice system in Northamptonshire have been excluded from school, often for violent behaviour.
Mentoring will also be provided by an ex-gang member – now an experienced youth worker – who will work directly with young people at risk of, or already involved in, gang activity.
The programme will be part of Northamptonshire Police’s initiative to reduce violence and the dedicated team will co-ordinate activity, manage cases and disrupt gang activity.
Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, said: “This is fabulous news and I’m very pleased that the strength of the programme we have planned in Northamptonshire means that we will benefit from this extra funding.
“Gang activity is emerging as a significant issue in this county and all the evidence tells us that we can’t arrest our way out of the problem – we need to intervene early to give young people positive role models and opportunities for a life away from crime. This funding will help us to put effective programmes in place to support vulnerable young people and tackle crime.”
Assistant Chief Constable James Andronov from Northamptonshire Police, said: “Gang violence is a very real issue in Northamptonshire and although we are tackling the issue by pursuing individuals, making arrests and investigating incidents as part of Operation Viper, we also need to look at how we can prevent young people from getting involved with gangs in the first place.
“This money will allow us to work with colleagues in the Youth Offending Service and the local careers service to support those young people identified as being vulnerable to the influence of gangs. We will be using proven techniques to engage with the young people with the purpose of resolving any offences they’ve been involved with and preventing re-offending.”
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