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Alanis Morissette

New £860,000 fund to tackle knife crime in the Thames Valley

Oxford City, Cherwell and West Oxfordshire are in the top five areas for knife crime and serious violence in the Thames Valley.

The Home Office has allocated £860,000 to the Thames Valley area, which is part of a £24m Serious Violence "Grip" fund made available to 18 police forces with the highest levels of violent crime.

The Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit has undertaken detailed analysis of crime focus areas, using new mapping technology to identify around 40 specific hotspots.

The majority are in urban areas, in particular locations - certain streets, near bars, pubs, shops or institutions like schools or hospitals. 

The force will use the funding to deliver more high visibility patrols and targeted operations against known offenders and to act upon intelligence. 

It will also support increased deployments from specialist officers, bringing additional capacity and skills to local policing operations. This will include Roads Policing officers, with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, highly-visible mounted section, dog units and Armed Response Vehicle officers.

Thames Valley Police will be the first force in the country to use a new mobile phone app - developed by the Violence Reduction Unit - which pushes mapping and briefings, telling them which hotspots to patrol. 

The app records time spent in the area and allows paper-less recording of activity. If successful, TVP says it may be rolled out across the force. 

Since 2020, Oxford has seen a 19% drop in knife crime, with a 10% fall in offences in Cherwell and West Oxfordshire. 

The JACKfm news team spoke to Chief Inspector Chris Young, of Thames Valley Police and the Violence Reduction Unit, about knife crime across Oxfordshire:

Matthew Barber, the Police & Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, said: "Overall knife-enabled crime is down by over 11 percent year-on-year across the Thames Valley, thanks to the hard work of our police, partners and with the support of local communities.  

"However, it remains a priority for me that we take strong action against violent offenders, with a focus upon those who carry knives, whether to use in crime or from some mis-guided belief that it gives some sort of protection."

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