Tuesday 26 November 2019 / 10:31 PM Crime / Diane Abbott / Richard Burgon

Labour announces boost to 18 Violence Reduction Units to tackle gang related violent crime

Labour announces a boost to 18 Violence Reduction Units tackling highest rates of gang-related violent crime

Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary and Richard Burgon, Shadow Justice Secretary, will tomorrow (Wednesday) announce plans to expand 18 Violence Reduction Units with an average of 20 additional officers each, in police forces tackling the highest rates of gang-related violent crime.

In April 2018, Labour announced its support for Violence Reduction Units modelled on the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in Glasgow, which is responsible for implementing the successful crime reduction initiative. Their approach of treating violence as a public health crisis has been widely credited for reducing violent crimes by around 40% over the last decade and murders reduced to their lowest level since 1976.

The expansion of Violence Reduction Units will also be complemented by new plans for investment to tackle re-offending rates, with pilot innovations supported by a £20m annual Criminal Justice Innovation Fund for Police and Crime Commissioners and local criminal justice boards to develop and trial the best practice ways of reducing re-offending.

Reoffending costs are estimated at £18bn per year with reoffending rates at 65% for those released following a short prison sentence.

Labour’s manifesto also commits to match in full the additional government resources announced for policing, after the Tories took 21,000 police off our streets.

Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, speaking ahead of an event in Hackney with anti knife crime campaigners, said:

“Tory cuts to the police have made our communities less safe.

“You can’t have safety and security on the cheap and you can’t believe a word that Boris Johnson says on policing.

“Labour will fully resource our police forces after Tory cuts and our focus on violence reduction units will make a public health approach to tackling crime a reality.”

Richard Burgon, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, said:

“Under the Tories reoffending rates are far too high, meaning more victims of crimes and less safe communities.

“Labour will prioritise reducing the number of victims of crime and tackling the huge social and economic costs of offending.

“Our Criminal Justice Innovation Fund will help local experts invest in schemes that work best to tackle reoffending in their areas”.