OVER £3m worth of funding has been allocated to tackle the root cause of violence in Hampshire. 

The Home Office has donated the sum of £3.5m which will now be used by the county's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to tackle violent crime and address its underlying causes. 

Since it was set up the VRU has also funded a number of early intervention projects, working with thousands of young people, to stop problems occurring in the future. 

It does this by raising awareness and educating people about the consequences of violent crime. 

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It comes as Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, Donna Jones has said she is "very concerned about the growth of violence on our streets".

"I welcome the decision of the Home Office to provide three years of funding, giving us greater opportunities to find long term sustainable solutions and to build upon the initiatives that have been put in place.
 “When we look at the past experiences of young people who are committing knife crime a significant number have had a childhood that has included violence, drugs, alcohol abuse or other adverse experiences.

"It is important that can identify and resolve these issues early on to prevent them from escalating.
“It is vital that we engage with young people as soon as we identify them as being vulnerable or at risk, and that support is available at key points."

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Over the past year the VRU has been expanding its Youth Navigator programme and is now available in Southampton and Winchester hospitals.

Commissioner Jones added: "Arriving at A&E with injuries caused by violence, as well as other vulnerabilities such as mental ill-health and self-harm can be a wake-up call, and having the right support in place can help these young people to realise there is a way out and to take positive steps to reduce risk of harm.”

One example of VRU support in the past includes when in Focus Education & Development CiC worked with a group of young people at Southampton Youth Offending Service to develop a series of posters that portray an anti-knife crime message.

Crime & Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, who visited Chandler's Ford last week 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."