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Anti-violence group get £3.37m funding boost

Anti-violence group get £3.37m funding boost

by Tom Martin (February 2021)

Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) will receive a further £3.37m in funding to continue its work tackling the root causes of serious violence, the Home Office has confirmed.

Ministers announced yesterday (Monday 8th Feb), subject to an application from the Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy and partner organisations, Merseyside’s VRP will receive funding to continue its vital work for a third year during 2021/22.

The Partnership, which brings together Merseyside Police, the Police Commissioner’s office, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, local government, National Probation Service and the county’s Youth Offending Service, as well as representatives from health, education, academia, sports and the voluntary sector to address and prevent the underlying the causes that lead to serious violence, was first funded in autumn 2019 and will now be able to operate until April 2022.

The region’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “This announcement that the funding will be renewed for Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership is welcome and a testament to the commitment of this very effective unit during its first two years in operation.

“While this funding is good news and will be welcomed by partners across Merseyside, it is disappointing that the government have provided the same level of government funding, with no allowance for annually increasing running costs, or inflation and that it is for one year only.

“Adopting a public health methodology to treating violence is a long-term approach. It would have been helpful if the government had committed to a prolonged, long-term funding plan, building it into the baseline of the partner agencies involved. This would enable the public health approach to become the norm, providing a lasting culture change and yielding the best results.

“I have noted that the money provided to VRPs has stood still for three consecutive years, not even increasing in line with inflation, and that the Home Office is adding an extra layer of bureaucracy by asking local partnerships to apply for the funding again. This seems wholly unnecessary.

“Generational change cannot be achieved without significant, committed investment. Ministers need to recognise this and take a more forward-thinking approach in the future.”

Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership Director, Merseyside Police’s Det Supt Andy Ryan said: “This funding is very welcome news and will enable Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership to continue making a difference in communities across Merseyside.

“We know that violence is preventable and not, as people often see it, inevitable. Serious violence needs to be seen as an avoidable consequence of a range of factors which often arise in someone’s early life, usually through adverse childhood experiences.

“Our aim is to prevent these adverse incidents from occurring in the first place, so we can help to make our communities safer for this generation and future generations.

“With the support of our partners and working hand-in-hand with local communities, our ambition is to tackle the root causes of violence through long-term, sustainable solutions. I am very pleased that ministers have recognised the value of this work by committing to another year of funding which will enable us to continue this vital work to reduce serious violence throughout our communities.”

The latest round of investment is the third year of funding for 18 Violence Reduction Units operating across England and Wales, in the areas most affected by serious violence.

Find out more about the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership at https://www.merseysidevrp.com

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