Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary and Richard Burgon, Shadow Justice Secretary, announced on Wednesday, 27th November, plans to expand the Metropolitan Police Force’s Violence Reduction Unit. The Metropolitan Police Force, which has seen a six per cent rise in violent crime in Westminster, and a fifteen per cent rise in the City of London, since 2010, will be given the extra staff to tackle its high 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 be complemented by investment to tackle reoffending rates. Labour will fund innovative crime-busting pilot schemes with a £20m annual Justice Innovation Fund for Police and Crime Commissioners and local criminal justice boards. These schemes will develop and trial best practice in reducing re-offending.
Re-offending costs are estimated at £18bn per year with re-offending 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.