The Government have a programme for ending gang and youth violence, which provides support to local areas. It focuses on preventing vulnerable young people from joining gangs, helping those who want to leave gangs and tough enforcement against those who commit violence. We will publish our second annual report later this year.
I commend Wolverhampton police, through Operation No Deal and a general clampdown on crime and drug gangs, on recent significant arrests. Will the Minister assure me that significant steps are being made to continue that work? From anecdotal evidence in recent canvassing sessions, I have noticed a pick up in drug dealing, particularly in the south of the city.
My hon. Friend raises a serious issue. As he knows, Wolverhampton is one of the 33 priority areas to which the Home Office is giving particular help on this issue. We are working with Wolverhampton and other areas to tackle gang-related drug dealing as part of the ending gang and youth violence programme, and we will continue to do so and also use the new National Crime Agency and the serious organised crime strategy to ensure that we continue to attack the organised crime routes of drug dealing in too many of our cities.
The good news from Northamptonshire is that overall crime is down 14% in the last three years, but the bad news is that for every 1,000 people in the county, there are 11 crimes of violence, compared with eight per 1,000 in Merseyside and 10 per 1,000 in Greater Manchester. Surprising though these figures may be, will my right hon. Friend ensure that when the Home Office allocates funds to regional police forces, it takes such statistics into account?
My hon. Friend is a doughty campaigner for the local interests of his constituents, as he should be, and we hear all the recommendations he makes to us. His county is lucky to have a particularly good police and crime commissioner, who will, I know, bear down hard on crimes of violence.