THAMES Valley Police's new £1.16m budget to fight violent crime will be used to set up a dedicated crime reduction unit.

The money has been given to the elected head of the force, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Anthony Stansfeld, by the Home Office to slash knife crime figures in the region.

The idea is that a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) will be formed to help identify what is driving violent offences.

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The VRU will be led by heads of the police force, local government, health groups and community leaders.

It is hoped that the group could help to significantly reduce violent crime, with the leaders working at understanding the root causes.

The team will be responsible for delivering both short and long-term strategies.

Mr Stansfeld said this week: “I am delighted to have been awarded this funding for the Thames Valley.

“A partnership approach to tackling violent crime is a key priority for my office.

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“The work of the Violence Reduction Unit will provide wide-reaching benefits to communities and underpins my strategic priorities as police and crime commissioner for the region."

He added: “I am pleased to have been able to secure this funding to tackle serious violence and look forward to seeing the results.”

“We have already been working extensively with partners, from across the region, as part of the Early Intervention Youth Fund (EIYF).”

The EIYF is funded using another government cash injection to the PCC last year.

He was given £822,000 to help tackle youth violence, vulnerability and exploitation in communities.

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Using the cash the office for the PCC works with the same partners who will now specifically tackle violence in the VRU.

Altogether the Home Office divvied out £35m to the 18 forces.

Minister for policing Kit Malthouse said: “To beat knife crime we must do two things: first we need assertive, high profile police enforcement and second, we need a coordinated approach to the long term solutions to violence in society, especially amongst the young.

“These new units should help us get results on both.”

The roll out of new police officers will begin next month.