The Progressive Alliance which runs Milton Keynes City Council has highlighted its frustration after the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley refused to fund a successful youth crime prevention programme.
Recently, the City Council submitted a bid to PCC Matthew Barber’s Community Fund for a grant to put towards a crime prevention programme for vulnerable young people.
Despite support from the City Council, Thames Valley Police, and the Violence Reduction Unit, the Conservative PCC refused to award any funding.
As a result, Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors are extremely frustrated by the decision, as over the recent summer break the City Council ran a successful crime prevention programme.
The programme benefitted dozens of vulnerable young people, with over half continuing to keep in touch and build relationships with local providers, which will ensure they continue to be diverted away from criminal activity.
Sessions held in Bradville and the Lakes Estate helped to divert young people at risk of becoming involved in crime into more positive activities such as multi-sports, lyric writing, and outdoor youth club activities, which all focused on the impact of anti-social behaviour, gangs, crime, and serious violence.
Councillor Jane Carr, Lib Dem Progressive Alliance Member for Youth Justice, and Tackling Social Inequalities, who thought up the programme, said:
“I would like to thank the young people for engaging with the scheme, and to the hardworking City Council colleagues, local partners, and providers who have made this programme a success. But it is extremely frustrating to hear that the PCC has refused to fund this project. The scheme has made a real difference to young people’s lives and for the PCC to take no notice of the positive contribution it has made to the city is appalling.”
Councillor Lauren Townsend, Labour Progressive Alliance Cabinet Member for Community Safety, added:
“The City Council is committed to supporting the city’s most vulnerable residents and we believe early prevention is the best way forward for reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. The PCC’s decision won’t deter us from doing all we can to explore funding options to run similar projects to support other vulnerable young people across the city.”