Herts police and crime commissioner backs £280,000 campaign to tackle knife crime
A £280,000 initiative to tackle knife and serious violent crime across the county is being backed by Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd.
The scheme aims to safeguard 200 children and young adults at risk of being drawn into gang activity and other serious offending.
Mr Lloyd approved a £140,000 Community Safety Grant from his office which will be matched by Hertfordshire County Council and district councils.
The money will be used to recruit additional SOS St Giles’ Trust youth project workers over the next year who will focus on early intervention and targeted help for young people at risk.
Mr Lloyd said: “Hertfordshire remains a low crime area with much less knife and serious crime than many parts of the country. But we are not immune from national trends and in Hertfordshire we have criminals travelling in from London and across county lines.
“Understandably this is a key public concern that I share, and I am committed to making a real difference and combating it.
“I have agreed this substantial funding as we need to prevent these vulnerable children and young people being forced into crime.
“The grant will enable crime panels to be set up across the county involving the police, schools, councils and children services to identify those at risk.
“Last year I funded a successful pilot of this scheme in Broxbourne and now is the right time to expand their work out across Hertfordshire.”
Broxbourne Safer Neighbourhood Team Inspector Roy Stammers said: “The St Giles Trust works closely with us, a number of our local schools, other partners and members of the community to help show the realities and risks of being in a gang through their SOS+ Project.
“As well as delivering assemblies around topics such as gangs, county lines and child sexual exploitation, their case workers – who are former gang members – work closely with students who might be at risk of becoming involved with gangs or of placing themselves at other risk.
“By being able to engage and build an initial rapport with younger people, alongside schools, the trust can help deter them from a falsely glamorised lifestyle and offer them support and advice, which enables them to envision a better future by becoming contributory members of society.”
As part of the scheme, schools will be offered the opportunity to refer high-risk young people into an intensive support service to disrupt and divert them away from crime and joining gangs.