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PCC says new legal duty will help agencies protect young people from violence earlier

CAMBRIDGESHIRE and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Darryl Preston has welcomed a new legal duty which will ensure the right organisations are working together to tackle serious violence.

The government has now published its final statutory guidance on the Serious Violence Duty as part of its commitment to reduce and prevent serious violence.

The duty, which was introduced as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, will come into force early next year and will place a legal responsibility on organisations such as the police, local authorities and criminal justice agencies to work together, share information and publish actions they need to take collectively to reduce violent crime, including domestic abuse and sexual offences.

Crime Prevention is one of the five pillars of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and the PCC has already supported agencies to take a united approach against serious violence. 

Darryl said: “Sadly, Cambridgeshire is not immune to the scourge of serious violence. Violence of any type is simply unacceptable, and I am determined to do everything in my power to break the deadly cycle that shatters lives, families and communities. This is why in Cambridgeshire we are already ahead of the curve and have implemented new arrangements to coordinate our work more effectively before this new duty takes effect.

“Serious violence is not just a problem for the police to respond to alone. To make a lasting impact on young people’s lives, we need the commitment and expertise of our partners to support intervention at the earliest possible opportunity. This new duty will help to ensure that happens.”

The PCC established and now chairs a new High Harms Board to increase consistency in prevention work and support agencies as they work together to tackle serious crime relating to drugs, serious and organised crime, violence against women and girls and serious violence. Many of these issues and their causes overlap.

The Commissioner also welcomes targeted prevention work by the Constabulary including Operation Sceptre – a national campaign to support the year-round work of officers to crackdown on knife crime, locally this included alongside school visits, educational and awareness-raising programmes, weapons sweeps, amnesty bins, and retail test purchasing operations – and Operation Hypernova which takes a proactive approach to county lines exploitation and drug supply.

Assistant Chief Constable Vicki Evans added: “The Serious Violence Duty provides us with a fantastic opportunity to build on the extensive partnership working we have in place in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to prevent violence of all kinds in our communities. The devastating impacts of serious violence are very real, and we will work tirelessly to prevent violence and pursue those who commit it in our area.”

Other successes include the launch of a youth listening project by the Commissioner to increase engagement with young people and find out how they feel about safety, to influence future services.

The Serious Violence Duty follows the publication of the government’s Serious Violence Strategy in 2018.