Merseyside Police in £4.5m drive to stop gun and knife crime

Armed Merseyside police officer

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Operation Target has been given the Home Office grant from its £100m Serious Violence Fund

Some £4.5m will be poured into a new initiative to crack down on shootings, stabbings and other serious crime in Merseyside.

Merseyside Police has been given the Home Office grant from its £100m Serious Violence Fund.

It will be used to improve intelligence, pinpoint crime hotspots and issue frontline officers with metal detecting gloves.

Gun and knife crime rose by more than a third in Merseyside in 2018.

According to the government figures, knife crime in England and Wales rose to record levels last year.

Ch Supt Matt Boyle said Operation Target would put officers in places “that need them most”.

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Stop and search will be one of the tactics the force will be using

The operation will also focus on serious assaults, armed robberies and wider issues such as violence in clubs and so-called county lines drugs dealing.

More officers will be on the streets with handheld metal detectors, and using stop-and-search tactics and roadside checks.

There will also be extra staff to look at crime hotspots, repeat offenders and patterns of offences.

Ch Supt Boyle said: “We know issues such as knife and gun crime really impact on our communities and we are committed to tackling these issues head on and really making a difference.”

Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said the money will be concentrated on preventing crime, “particularly that which has the capacity to cause most harm”.

She said: “It will also enable the force to invest more in the really important proactive and prevention work used to put the criminals on the back foot that has suffered from years of budget cuts.”

In May, the force launched the Violence Reduction Partnership, made up of specialists in police, health and local government, to help tackle the root causes of violent crime.

Earlier this month it revealed details of the Violence Reduction Unit dedicated to stopping young people becoming involved in violent crime.

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