Home Office doubles youth crime prevention scheme funds to £22m

Police at scene of stabbing in London Image copyright Getty Images

Government funding for a scheme to steer young people away from violence is to be doubled after a rise in crime.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is to now earmark £22m for the Early Intervention Youth Fund in England and Wales.

Police and crime commissioners can apply for money for projects run by youth and community groups in 2018-20.

Recorded crime went up by 11% in the 12 months to March - the highest level in more than a decade - amid rises in killings, knife offences and robberies.

Separate figures released in January showed that while the number of young people arrested fell 79% in the last 10 years, there has also been a rise in violent offences among people under the age of 18.

The Early Intervention Youth Fund was originally announced in March by then Home Secretary Amber Rudd as part of the government's strategy to cut violent crime.

The strategy highlighted the problem of gangs that recruit children as drug couriers and the online "glamourisation" of crime.

Sports and mentoring schemes could benefit from the new fund.

Mr Javid said: "Intervening early in the lives of vulnerable young people can help focus their talents on positive activities and steer them away from the dangers of serious violence.

"The fund will support groups at the heart of our communities who educate and interact with youths - and provide them with an alternative to crime."

The government had faced criticism that some of the rise in violent crime has been caused by a lack of youth services.

In February, when London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced £45m would be spent on helping young people in London at risk of being caught up in crime in the next three years he said council youth services had been "decimated" by a fall in government funding.

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