Call for urban renewal as part of wider approach to serious youth violence
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Suffolk's police and crime commissioner believes a 'public health' approach to violent crime can only pay off with long-term investment in communities.
Tim Passmore welcomed a series of 'next steps' following the Prime Minister's Serious Youth Violence Summit in April – but said the problem would be “pushed out” if efforts were concentrated in cities.
The summit backed a multi-agency response by councils, the NHS, businesses and charities to treat the problem as a disease and address gaps in data sharing.
In March, the government pledged £100m for police to tackle violent crime in the worst affected areas – with about third funding wider violence reduction units.
Mr Passmore said: “I very much welcome the summit and the actions to come, which we need to make sure are delivered with a completely national approach, not just in the big metropolitan areas.
“By concentrating even more resources into those areas, the problem could get pushed out. We've already seen county lines emanate from those areas.”
“Also of concern is how we build on these recommendations.
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“We have to think 10 or 15 years into the future – towards the regeneration of deprived areas.
“I'm deadly serious about this; if we are to regenerate our urban areas, it's going to cost money, but it will pay dividends. One thing we're still missing is an economic assessment of what these crimes actually cost the nation.”
Health Secretary and Suffolk MP, Matt Hancock chaired the summit's discussion on how NHS data could be used effectively while maintaining trust.
Mr Passmore said it was right for the service to play a part by exchanging intelligence, including information on A&E attendance.
“Until recently, there was a misconception that intelligence couldn't be shared”, he said.
“We need to get rid of these artificial barriers.
“Issues around youth justice, probation and prison reform also need to be addressed. We need to think about how we can work better around school exclusions, while getting people to realise their responsibilty for teaching children right from wrong.
“It will not do that there are no activities or opportunities for young people. Although many companies put a lot of money into supporting charitable activities, communication needs to be focused and direct. The private sector needs to tell us what it would like us to do.”