Matthew Barber, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, has today (23/1) welcomed over £216,000 of Home Office funding to support the expansion of Operation Deter youth activity in Slough.
The Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner has secured £216,035 of funding from the Home Office ‘Homicide Prevention Fund’ to implement an early intervention support programme for under 18’s in Slough who are arrested for knife/weapon related offences.
The 15-month pilot programme will be delivered by Slough Children First’s Exploitation and Youth Justice Service Team. It aims to provide intensive and swift intervention opportunities to address risky behaviours that can lead to violence. It will see the Exploitation and Youth Justice Service (EYJS) immediately notified when a young person is arrested.
Announcing the funding, Matthew Barber said: “I am committed to tackling serious violence and knife crime in Slough. Over the past eight months, Slough has witnessed three tragic murders. Implementing Operation Deter in Slough, a robust zero-tolerance approach to knife possession, is part of my plan to cut crime and keep people safe.
“This funding will now add to Operation Deter, a targeted response for those under-18. The current process of intervention can take weeks, but this pilot will enable a EYJS worker to attend custody within 90 minutes of notification of a young person’s arrival. This is a critical opportunity to engage with a young person, giving them the best opportunity to address their behaviour and turn their life around.
“Slough is also currently hosting the National Monument against Violence and Aggression, also known as the Knife Angel, so there is a real emphasis amongst partners to take a collective stand against violence. This Home Office funding forms one part of how we are working with partners across Slough to address this issue.”
The funding secured through the Home Office Homicide Prevention Fund will support activity in Slough which aims to:
- Ensure under-18s in Slough who have been arrested for a weapon-enabled or possession offence will receive an EYJS visit in custody within 90 minutes
- Ensure under-18s in Slough receive a further EYJS appointment within 48 hours of release
- Increase youth engagement with the Slough EYJS
- Reduce reoffending and the risk of escalating violence leading to homicide among those who engage with Operation Deter in Slough
Sue Butcher, Director of Children’s Services/Chief Executive of Slough Children First, said: “We are extremely pleased to have received this funding to support a number of initiatives focusing on reducing violent crime within the borough.
“We are acutely aware of the impact of violent crime and the effect it has on so many people, not just the families, but the community as a whole.
“There is an urgent necessity to focus on this area and reduce violent crime to prevent such tragedies as those that have already occurred in Slough, and we will be working closely with partner agencies and the community to pro-actively identify those who require support to change their behaviours and those who are risk.”
This activity will run from January 2023 to March 2024 with Thames Valley Police, Slough Children First and Slough Borough Council involved.
Young people will be given every opportunity to engage with the programme, but should they fail to do so, or their offending is particularly dangerous, the criminal justice route will remain the proper course of action.