Wales

Extra south Wales funding to tackle violent crime rise

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Image caption Crimes of violence have increased by 10%

Almost £900,000 will be allocated to south Wales to tackle a rise in violent crime, as part of a £35m pot being spent by the Home Office

The funding is given to run an agency of police, councils and health boards to cut violent crime, which has risen by 35% in some areas.

Almost 40,000 violent crime incidents were recorded in the area last year.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said South Wales Police was "leading on positive work".

She praised the force for "reaching out to young people when they come into A&E after being caught up in violence".

The £880,000 pot will be allocated to South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael to run the South Wales Violence Reduction Unit.

There are 18 of these schemes in major cities across the UK - all sharing the UK Government's £34.7m fund - which use a "multi-agency approach to understand and tackle the causes of violent crime".

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Media captionProf Jonathan Shepherd explains the violent crime prevention model which "fills gaps in police knowledge into violent incidents"

There were 39,691 incidents of violent crime reported in the South Wales Police force area between December 2018 and November 2019.

In south Wales, counties such as Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot saw violent crime rise by 35%.

"I will not tolerate the criminals who seek to draw our young people into a life of violence," said Ms Patel.

Since it was set up earlier this year, the south Wales unit has funded early intervention projects that aim to divert young people away from committing violent crime in the first place.

"Partnership working is the vital ingredient if we are to reduce violence, by preventing it in the first place rather than always having to respond when bad things happen," said Mr Michael, Wales' former first minister.

"Root causes of serious violence are being addressed by focusing on early intervention and prompt, positive action, and I welcome this extra round of funding which will help us to maintain our momentum."

The unit had previously been given £1.2m from the main South Wales Police force budget to "provide an immediate operational response to serious violence".

Authorities in Cardiff have also won praise in recent years for pioneering a scheme to reduce violence by anonymously gathering information at hospitals from victims of violence.

The so-called Cardiff Model has led to changes such as the introduction of plastic glasses in bars, real-time CCTV usage and pedestrian areas in trouble-spots.

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