More than 40 projects in Bedfordshire win £400k to divert young people from life of crime

The county's new Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) is distributing the cash to help tackle knife, gun and gang crime

By Clare Turner
Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 5:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 5:44 pm

Bedford Borough Community Safety Partnership, Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Local Safeguarding Children Board, Bedfordshire Opportunities for Learning Disabilities and Bedfordshire Youth Offending Service are just some of the worthy causes set to benefit from a share of the cash.

The funded projects include those which will work with schools and alternative education to deliver anti-knife crime messages including projects focusing on parents, girls at risk of being drawn into gang activity and young people with learning disabilities, as well as schemes offering diversionary activities such as music, sport and media production.

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, said: “I’m delighted these first grants from the VERU genuinely represent the voices of our communities and what they themselves feel will be most effective to divert their own young people away from involvement in gangs, guns, drug dealing and knife carrying.

The cash will help tackle knife, gun and gang crime (Getty)

“It’s no good sitting in ivory towers and dictating what will work. Only those living in hotspots for serious youth violence understand, from close up, what is most likely to reach these young people and at what stage."

The VERU - which the commissioner created through Home Office funding - also has its own team working directly with young people at risk of serious violence, as well as with their families.

Bedfordshire is one of 18 police force areas given a grant by the Home Office for a violence reduction unit.