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  1. ITV Report

Devon and Cornwall Police chiefs unveil new plan for tackling violent crime

Police bosses in Devon and Cornwall have revealed plans for a 'fundamental re-think' of how they deal with violent crime.

They want to commit £1million a year to intervening earlier to stop serious offences like murder, domestic abuse, sexual assault and drug trafficking.

Officers could work alongside experts from health, education and local authorities to identify the early signs of violent offenders.

59
crimes for every 1,000 people in Devon and Cornwall
40
per cent of all crimes in Devon and Cornwall involve violence
Police commissioner Alison Hernandez says violent crime is rising. Credit: ITV News

We may be deemed as one of the lower crime areas, but violent crime is increasing and other areas of crime is going down.

You can't keep arresting your way out of tackling crime. We've got to try to stop it happening in the first place. We all say prevention is better than cure, but we never get round to putting our money where our mouth is, and this £1million investment in a centre for the prevention of violence is going to make a real difference.

I'm not scaremongering, what we're doing here is saying we've got some inherent violence going on in our communities, we want to really understand what that's about and try to stop it from a much earlier perspective.

– Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner

Just this week the members of an organised crime gang were jailed for bringing misery and fear to the streets of South Devon.

‘The Geordies’ used violence and coercive tactics to maintain a criminal empire valued at £1million within Dawlish and Teignmouth.

A judge at Bristol Crown Court sentenced the group for a number of Class A and B drugs offences.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer says he wants to protect communities from violent gangs. Credit: ITV News

That blighting of a community, that's where we don't want to be. So you would take something like that operation and unpick it and put it into that hub, what were the preventative measures that could have been done early.

What could we have done with that community to target harden it and get those victims to come forward sooner?

– Shaun Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable
Police are working alongside other emergency services. Credit: ITV News

In order to fund this initiative, the public are being asked to pay more than four per cent extra on their council tax bills.

This amounts to an extra £9 next year for an average Band D property.