I welcome the announcement of the recruitment drive to deliver 20,000 new police officers and make our streets safer and know that local residents in Staffordshire Moorlands want to see more officers in their neighbourhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime.
The drive to deliver more frontline officers will start in September with the launch of a national campaign, led by the Home Office, recruiting 20,000 officers over the next three years.
We must break the deadly cycle of violence that devastates the lives of individuals, families, and communities. This is why I welcome the Government's Serious Violence Strategy, which sets out its response to recent increases in knife crime, gun crime and homicide. It outlines an ambitious programme working with a range of Government Departments and partnerships across a number of sectors such as education, health, social services, housing, youth services, and victim services.
Backed with £40 million of Home Office funding, the Strategy marks a major shift in the Government's response to knife and gun crime. It strikes a balance between prevention and robust law enforcement with a new £22 million Early Intervention Youth Fund for community projects to help young people live lives free from violence. The strategy identifies the changing drugs market, in particular the devastating impact of crack cocaine, as a key driver of the violence harming communities, and announces a range of powerful actions to tackle the issue of 'county lines' and its implications for drugs, violence and exploitation of vulnerable people. That includes £3.6 million to establish a new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre.
The strategy is not solely focused on law enforcement, but also depends on partnerships across a number of sectors. Early intervention can help catch young people before they go down the wrong path, encouraging them to make positive choices. The announcement by the Home Secretary of a £200 million youth endowment fund is extremely welcome. The fund will provide support for those young people most at risk of serious violence.
This strategy represents a step change in the way Government responds, and I welcome the focus on early intervention and prevention to help steer young people away from crime in the first place, while putting in place measures to tackle the root causes of the problem.