MERSEYSIDE PCC has been awarded £3.37 million of funding to set up a Violence Reduction Unit, the Government has announced today.

The new unit will bring together local police, health and education professionals to understand the causes of serious violence in Merseyside and agree a co-ordinated response.

Merseyside PCC will spend the cash on a number of short and long-term projects aimed at diverting people away from violence, including working with charities to support children at risk of being excluded from school, criminal exploitation or committing serious violence.

The announcement follows a roundtable at Downing Street, hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, bringing together the police, probation and prison leaders to discuss how to cut crime and improve the criminal justice system.

The Prime Minister has vowed to give police the powers and resources they need to urgently tackle serious violence, cut crime and target county lines gangs.

Major issues impacting St Helens have been that of knife crime and domestic violence.

Daniel Fox was 29 when he went on a night out on Westfield Street in September 2016, later that night he was slashed with a knife and died.

A similar situation occurred in Prescot in November 2017, when Adam Ellison, also 29, was leaving his local pub, and also suffered slash wounds and died.

Domestic violence is also an issue plaguing the borough with two mums, Samantha Gosney and Rachel Evans, being murdered by their partners.

Samantha Gosney, a 29-year-old mother-of-two, was stabbed 21 times during the attack on Saturday, November 24, 2018, which a paramedic described as "pure butchery".

In March, mum-of-five Rachel Evans was stabbed to death by partner Carl Harrison.

Kit Malthouse, Policing Minister said: “I am deeply concerned about the rise in knife crime that we have seen across the country.

“While tough law enforcement plays a vital role, all parts of the community must work together to understand and address the underlying causes of violent crime.

“The new violence reduction unit in Merseyside will aim to ensure that there is a strong, local multi-agency approach to this issue and I am confident it will deliver real results.”

Jane Kennedy, Merseyside PCC said: "This is good news and a welcome boost to all those professionals and community and voluntary heroes who have already committed to a public health approach to tackling serious violence in Merseyside.

“I look forward to working closely with Merseyside Police and their partners to establish lasting change to save lives."

The cash for the unit comes from £35 million that was put aside from the £100 million serious violence fund to tackle serious violence.

It was awarded to Merseyside PCC after they submitted a successful bid for the provisional allocation of the funding.

It is in addition to a total of £63.4 million that was given to the eighteen forces for additional officer deployments, improved intelligence, and short-term operational actions such as targeting habitual knife carriers.

Another £1.6 million of the surge fund is being spent on ensuring forces collect better data to support their planning and ensure targeted action.

The funding is on top of the £331 million Merseyside Police is receiving as a result of the police funding settlement for 2019/20, including council tax.