While I have overseen the area becoming the lowest crime rate area in England and Wales for the first time ever in our history, violent crime seems unrelenting. Our communities are suffering from violence in their homes and on our streets throughout the entire country. We are not alone. I have not let complacency set in and we set an ambitious programme to prevent serious violence.
Because our violence is not at the levels of many metropolitan areas we ave not been successful in obtaining government funding for a Violence Reduction Unit. However, through our community paying more in their council tax we have established a £1million annual programme of work to place a clear focus on preventing it happening in the first place.
From domestic violence to assaults I want to put in place work that will help people at the earliest opportunity when it is recognised that there is a violent tendency in them. The Chief Constable and I are doing this in partnership but it is not just a policing response we are seeking to achieve. We want to help children and their families put a foot in the right direction of safe relationships and turn this societal problem around in our community.
We have an established track record of things that work and need to expand them into more communities and faster. We have the Turning Corners project which we received over £500k from the govt to tackle gang related crime in South Devon, we are in the process of establishing Street Games scheme in Plymouth to help troubled young people and we will be carrying out a hot spot policing study to see if there is evidence on how proactive patrols in Exeter can make a difference to street violence.
In addition we are supporters of Operation Encompass, a vital scheme that is now in 40 of the 43 forces and led by a former headteacher of Torpoint School and a former Police Officer. As a result of this scheme the police now ring schools across our area every morning to inform them about children who have witnessed or been involved in a domestic incident that night before. This enables the school to better help those children when they arrive to learn. Since Covid we have also funded the Teacher's Helpline to ensure teachers have access to professional advice about the behaviour and options for children in their care during the school day. This has now been funded by the government for teachers across the country. This is a globally award winning scheme and we are very proud to work alongside Elisabeth and David Carney-Haworth OBE.
The Government has now introduced a Serious Violence Duty in order to ensure we are all working together to tackle the violence in our areas. In addition this year I have become the national co-lead for tackling serious and organised crime across the country and a champion for delivering the Clear, Hold Build initiative.