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Home Office fails to give Suffolk any cash from £100m pot to tackle drug-related knife crime and youth violence

PUBLISHED: 05:30 29 June 2019

Tim Passmore, Conservative Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner said the Home Office was

Tim Passmore, Conservative Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner said the Home Office was "misguided" after failing to support Suffolk with cash for youth gangs and violence. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Home Office chiefs are being branded as "misguided" after it was revealed that not a single penny of £100million in Government funding to tackle drug related knife crime and youth violence will be spent in Suffolk.

Paul West said Suffolk's leaders owed it to people to tackle the county lines and gang violence issue. Picture: RACHEL EDGEPaul West said Suffolk's leaders owed it to people to tackle the county lines and gang violence issue. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The snub has angered Tim Passmore, the county's police and crime commissioner, who has hit out at the Home Office's cash allocation of £100m which has been split between just a handful of police forces.

He was speaking during Friday's Suffolk Public Sector Leaders (SPSL) gathering of council leaders and chief executives, which now intends to write to the Home Office to express its anger.

"Once again I am deeply disturbed that the Home Office has chosen to ignore requests for funding," Mr Passmore told the gathering.

"The funding has gone once again to urban areas and I am pretty sick and tired of this.

"Somehow we have to make sure the Home Office understands if we put the money into urban areas only, the big concern I have is there will be displacement into rural areas like Suffolk.

"I think they are completely misguided - we didn't get 1p.

"It's not from lack of trying or lobbying and it will not do."

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The group provided £500,000 of funding for a two-year scheme, which has been in place since October, to tackle urban gang violence and county lines, which has helped to set up a multi-agency team of social workers, psychologists, community engagement officers and other public sector workers.

The team works to divert youngsters at risk of falling in with gangs away from drugs and crime.

It has also emerged that a monthly panel meets in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft, where youngsters at risk are given action plans to safeguard them.

The funding will run until around October 2020.

Latest figures suggest there are 28 county lines operating in Suffolk - 18 of which are running in the west of the county.

Paul West, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for Ipswich, communities and waste, said: "Although Suffolk is a safer place than somewhere like London, we owe it to the residents of Suffolk that we continue to tackle this problem in the years ahead.

"There has been some early success but much more to do in the next year and then after that."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The Government is determined to tackle the scourge of serious violence and is taking action to do so.

"That is why police funding is increasing by more than £1 billion, including council tax and the £100 million serious violence fund.

"This year the Suffolk PCC received £125m as a result of the police funding settlement for 2019/20, an increase of £9m from last year."

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