The Government is committed to tackling gun crime and is taking steps to address the issue across England and Wales. As set out in our Serious Violence Strategy, this includes measures in the Offensive Weapons Bill to ban certain rapid firing rifles and bump stocks, introducing greater regulation of antique firearms and tightening controls on firearms dealers.
We have also established a multi-agency national firearms threat assessment centre to improve our capability to disrupt the supply and use of illegal firearms; this unit works closely with Merseyside police and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit.
The Government recognises the devastating impact of county lines activity on children and vulnerable people. We have provided £3.6 million to establish the new National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) to enhance our cross-border intelligence and activity on county lines and to better safeguard and protect victims of county lines including those who have been criminally exploited. Work is ongoing to protect the exploited and target the offenders, and to date the NCLCC has carried out two separate weeks of operational intensification leading to over 1100 arrests, over 1300 individuals safeguarded and significant seizures of weapons and drugs.
In addition, the Government is providing Merseyside with £700k funding over two years through our £22 million Early Intervention Youth Fund for an early interventions programme targeting young people aged 8-19 to tackle serious violence and criminal exploitation across Merseyside. We have also allocated £3.5 million to Merseyside Police from our serious violence fund to pay for increased operational activity aimed at reducing serious violence.
Since 2018, the Home Office has funded a Serious and Organised Crime Community Coordinator programme in Merseyside. The programme consists of a mix of techniques with the aim of reducing serious and organised crime, reducing its impact on local communities, and protecting the most vulnerable members of society from criminal exploitation.
Funding for Merseyside Police will increase by £18.3 million this year. The Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner has set out her plans to use this funding to recruit 80 more police officers.