Bedfordshire Police has been awarded £880,000 to set up a specialist unit to tackle violent crime.

It aims to bring together the force, local government, health and community leaders to combat knife crime and serious youth violence at its root cause, in a whole system approach.

Bedfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway said: “Serious violence has been on the rise nationally and, sadly, this is no different in Bedfordshire.

"It also faces the scourge of gang, gun and knife crime; where we have seen young people murdered and seriously injured on our streets, with a stabbing virtually every day."

Holloway continued: “It is absolutely crucial that we have a genuine partner approach to tackle this issue in society and that everyone plays a part in steering young people away from becoming involved in such crime before it is too late."

Bedfordshire is one of 18 forces across the country set to benefit from the £35m Government funding through specialist violence reduction units.

"This funding is excellent news for Bedfordshire. It will ensure the vital work to tackle crime both in Luton and across the county can continue and can make a real difference. Tackling serious violence needs a partnership approach and as a local authority, we have a vital role to play."

Chief Executive of Luton Council, Robin Porter