THE Government has awarded £3.37m to Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to build on the region's Violent Reduction Unit.

The unit was set up to understand the causes of serious violence in Greater Manchester and agree a co-ordinated response.

Local police, youth workers, health and education professionals are involved in the unit.

The mayor, who is Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner, will spend the cash on short and long-term projects aimed at diverting people away from violence.

This includes work with young people at risk of committing crime or who are known to have committed offences or carry knives.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “I am deeply concerned about the rise in knife crime that we have seen across the country.

“The new Violence Reduction Unit in Greater Manchester will aim to ensure that there is a strong, local multi-agency approach to this issue and I am confident it will deliver real results.”

Deputy mayor of Greater Manchester for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Bev Hughes, said: “Tackling serious violence needs a partnership approach. In Greater Manchester, we already have our Violent Crime Unit in place, bringing together police, local authorities, the voluntary sector, and education, health and youth justice partners.

“This funding will allow us to build on this approach and work more closely together to understand the causes and then respond appropriately, focussing on prevention, early intervention and targeted support.

“We will only succeed through collaboration and it has been really encouraging that key partners across the city-region have been throwing their support behind the programme.

“Greater Manchester is already doing so much good work to tackle serious violence, with money already being spent on additional frontline policing, targeted at the areas of Greater Manchester where there are particular issues with violent crime, including knife crime and personal robberies.

"However, if we can drive young people away from violence at the earliest possible opportunity we can make a real difference to them and our communities.”