Boris Johnson and Priti Patel visit police in Milton Keynes

    Image: Ben Everitt

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel made a visit to Thames Valley Police in Milton Keynes on Wednesday (31/8).

    The Home Secretary joined her boss The Prime Minister, who is set to be replaced as Conservative Party leader this month, in a visit to Milton Keynes yesterday (31st August) to learn about the violence reduction unit and Operation Deter.

    The Violence Reduction Unit was introduced to the Thames Valley back in 2019 and offers a 'public health approach to tackling violence'. Focusing on early intervention and prevention, supporting communities and partnerships, tackling county lines and the misuse of drugs, law enforcement and the criminal justice response.

    Back in April of this year, the VRU was awarded an additional £7m from the Home Office.

    READ MORE: £7m funding announced to tackle serious violence across the Thames Valley

    While in Milton Keynes, the Home Secretary and Mr Johnson also spoke about Operation Deter, the anti-knife crime operation taking place in Milton Keynes.

    Operation Deter’s main objective is to make 'better use of charging and remanding offenders aged over 18 to court', ensuring that a robust message is sent to anyone found in possession of a knife.

    READ MORE: Police launch zero-tolerance knife crime operation in Milton Keynes

    Between Operation Deters launch in July and the beginning of August, Thames Valley Police recorded 57 knife-enabled crimes in Milton Keynes with 22 people charged, 16 of those remanded, and 25 bailed with conditions while investigations continued.

    DCI Lewis Prescott-Mayling, deputy director of the violence reduction unit, said: “Today’s visit gave an opportunity to discuss our investment into early intervention and diversion programmes, which seek to prevent young people from being drawn into crime in the first place.

    “Also, we showcased new technology that we have developed to help us target police and partnership activity, together with a new mobile phone app which tasks officers to violence hotspots, prioritising our resources to what we call ‘hot places’ and targeting ‘hot people’ who continue to engage in violence and knife crime."

    READ MORE: Operation Deter leads to big increase in knife related charges in Milton Keynes

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