Thames Valley police and crime commissioner (PCC) has committed £900,000 worth of funding to tackle youth knife offending.

Matthew Barber has used the investment to extend the Operation Deter Youth Programme, which has already seen successful trials in Milton Keynes and Slough.

The programme is a subsection of Operation Deter, a campaign by Thames Valley Police that concentrates on exerting zero tolerance towards knife crime.

Particular emphasis is placed on utilising charging and remanding options for adults found possessing a knife.

A significant feature of Operation Deter Youth is the swift response time by the Youth Offending Teams.

They aim to make contact with under-18s who have been arrested for knife-aided offences within 90 minutes, thereby increasing engagement from the young individuals and improving future safeguarding opportunities.

Witney Gazette: Matthew Barber has used the investment to extend the Operation Deter Youth Programme

Matthew Barber said: "Tackling knife crime in the Thames Valley is a top priority for me, and Thames Valley Police.

"The implementation of Operation Deter, alongside other fantastic frontline and partnership working, has had an immediate impact with knife-enabled crime down 13%.

"This means that Thames Valley currently has one of the lowest levels of violent crime of any police force in the country but there is still more to do in stamping out the knife-carrying culture that sadly exists among too many young people."

The PCC asserts that Operation Deter Youth provides a comprehensive support system for under 18s carrying knives by offering tailored interventions within 90 minutes of a Youth Offending Team being notified of an arrest.

The PCC has supported pilot schemes of the initiative in Milton Keynes and Slough, which have shown very positive results.

For these promising outcomes to be amplified across the entire Thames Valley, Mr Barber has committed significant funding for the upcoming two years.

He has informed upper tier local authorities in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire about the funding commitment.

The Operation Deter Youth Programme consists of multiple elements, including Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) assessments, mental health support, training, education, and employment assistance.

It also provides support for conflict resolution without violence and aggression, catering to parents and carers.