The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has been provisionally awarded a three-year funding deal, ensuring the continuity of the Unit to March 2025, the Minister of State for Crime and Policing has announced.

The funding deal provisionally announced sees the Unit receive £2.89m in year one, followed by £2.16m in year two, and £2.14m in year three. South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, will now need to make an application to the Home Office’s Serious Violence Fund in order to formally secure the funding.

The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit has previously received £1.6m in each financial year since it was formed in September 2019.

Following the announcement, the Unit will continue its work to understand why and how people get drawn into violence or become the subject of violence. The Unit will continue its ongoing engagement with residents and organisations as it leads efforts to tackle violence in South Yorkshire.

As part of that work, it will provide continued funding for initiatives such as the A&E Navigator and Custody Navigator programmes, where trained professionals provide support to those in A&E departments and custody cells who have been affected by or involved in serious violence. The VRU will also support other initiatives across the county including giving help to those who work in the voluntary sector.

Kit Malthouse, Minister of State for Crime and Policing, said: “The very worst part of my job is hearing from families who have lost loved ones to violence and finding out that something could have been done to prevent it.

“We must do more to reach those at risk of violence early on to break the cycle of crime. Only then will we truly level up the country and give everyone the security of a safe street and home.

“We’re throwing everything we have at this. At the heart, our pioneering Violence Reduction Units galvanise all parts of the public sector to tackle violent crime, and this approach is really starting to work.”

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, said: “At the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, our ambition is to work in partnership with organisations and communities to understand what drives violence, and identify opportunities to prevent and reduce it.

“I welcome the new funding provisionally announced today, which provides not just an uplift in support but funding for three years.

“This will allow the Violence Reduction Unit to plan ahead as we take a long-term approach to tackling violence in South Yorkshire.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “As Police and Crime Commissioner, I want South Yorkshire to be a place in which it is safe to live, learn, work and travel. Key to that is tackling violence and the impact it has on our society, and most important of all is preventing violence happening in the first place.

“I’m pleased to have provisionally secured this three year funding settlement, which allows the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit to continue its important work on addressing issues such as Violence Against Women and Girls, domestic abuse, spiking, and knife crime.

“The VRU is a partnership, bringing together the local authorities, the police, the NHS, youth offending teams, the faith and voluntary sectors, and many others from across the whole of the county. Together over the next three years we will take significant steps in reducing violence and enhancing the safety of us all.”