High Wycombe has been selected as one of nine new areas to receive assistance to tackle gang and youth violence.
I welcome this intelligence-led preventative work and High Wycombe will benefit from tailored support from experts to better understand the nature of gang-related violence and exploitation, identify opportunities for collaborative working and share effective ways of tackling local challenges.
This support falls under the Ending Gangs and Youth Violence Programme which has already helped 43 areas nationally. Whilst I am advised that we do not have an entrenched gang problem here in High Wycombe, Thames Valley Police’s Community and Diversity Officer for Wycombe Paul Bowen has welcomed the opportunity to share knowledge and learn from others as part of the programme.
Karen Bradley MP, Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation, said
Gang and youth violence has a devastating impact on young people, their families and local communities. That’s why today we are providing more targeted support for High Wycombe, which will allow local police and authorities to identify how best to address local challenges and identify the right measures to tackle gang-related violence and exploitation.
We want to work with High Wycombe and other towns and local areas to make this strategy a success. By expanding our successful programme we are sending a clear message to anyone involved in gang and youth violence: we are empowering the community to stop you.”
A new national policy, Ending Gang Violence and Exploitation, was also launched yesterday following challenges identified by frontline workers and organisations, including the police and National Crime Agency. It sets out priorities for Government to deal with reducing violence, tackling the abuse of vulnerable people in the drug trade through county lines, creating opportunities to divert youngsters away from gangs, protecting vulnerable locations, safeguarding girls and women associated with gangs, and early intervention with at risk youngsters.