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£800,000 for crime fighting community groups
Community groups including the Damilola Taylor Trust have been awarded £800,000 by the Home Office to tackle crime and gang culture, Home Secretary John Reid said today.
The Damilola Taylor Trust will receive £300,000 to continue its "Respect your life, not a knife" campaign that urges young people not to carry a knife or other weapons. Other community groups across England and Wales will receive a share of £500,000 through the Home Office's Connected Fund to support projects that help to tackle gang culture. With the recent award of £150,000 to Urban Concepts "Don't Trigger" campaign, this brings to almost £1 million the amount the Home Office has given to community groups in recent weeks.
The Home Office is also, in conjunction with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), publishing "Knife Crime Best Practice Guidelines" to help police and crime and disorder reduction partnerships to tackle knife crime in the most effective way.
Later today Home Office Ministers will meet community representatives and police in a roundtable meeting to discuss how best to tackle gun and knife crime, and gang culture.
The Government tackles crime through police, powers and prevention. That means ensuring police are equipped to deal with crime; giving police and the courts the powers they need to deal with offenders; and funding community groups to help prevent young people beginning a life of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Home Secretary John Reid said:
"Partnership with police and community groups is vital in tackling crime and gang culture. We have achieved a great deal in recent years to enhance community safety: crime and violent crime have fallen by a third in the last 10 years while gun crime fell by 16 per cent in the 12 months up to December 2006. We have introduced tough laws, but we have always recognised that Government cannot tackle crime on its own.
"Too many young people think that carrying a knife is for self defence. It is not, and they run the risk of having it turned on them.
"To tackle gun and knife crime and gang culture we have to convince young people so they know that knives are not a status symbol and don't protect you. That is why I am delighted to award the Damilola Taylor Trust a grant of £300,000 to fund their excellent campaign.
"The violent deaths over the weekend demonstrate the need to maintain momentum. We remain committed to tackling gang culture, and gun and knife crime."
Alf Hitchcock, ACPO lead on knife crime and Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, said:
"Police forces across the country have contributed examples of good practice from themselves and their partner organisations to help develop the joint police and Home Office best practice guide. We know that to address knife crime in the long term involves a great deal more than just policing. However, this guide provides a further tool in the fight against this area of crime."
Notes to Editors;
1. To see the Home Office/ ACPO knife crime best practice guidance go to http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/news/
2. For a full list of groups that have received money from the Connected Fund see http://www.connected.gov.uk/
3. For more on the Don't Trigger anti-gun crime campaign see http://www.dont-trigger.com/. The Home Office gave £150,000 to help fund the latest stage in the campaign that was launched at City Hall on 7 June.