A programme which has been launched to help detectives tackle gang crimes in High Wycombe has been supported by community figures who warned more needed to be done before “isolated incidents” escalated to gang warfare in the town.

Home Office ministers announced yesterday that the initiative would be launched in the town, despite leading Thames Valley Police officers insisting it is “extremely rare” for young people to become involved in youth and gang violence in the area.

READ MORE HERE: High Wycombe to get help in tackling gang and youth violence.

Detectives tackling gang crimes in High Wycombe will receive support from the government after the town was selected as one of nine places in the UK which needed extra assistance.

The move comes after a series of shocking street attacks involving gun and knives over the last year.

Paul Bowen, Thames Valley Police’s community and diversity officer for Wycombe and co-chairman of the Gangs Multi-Agency Partnership, said: “The incidents of gang related violent crime are extremely rare within Wycombe.

“As with all large police areas there are occasions when serious violent crimes do occur, and it remains an absolute priority to bring those offenders to justice as well as to prevent and deter such offences.

“We are aware that recent isolated incidents may have been perceived as gang related, however this is not the case. A number of people have been arrested in connection with these offences and are currently on bail.

“Over the past few years we have worked closely with our communities and partners on a successful gang’s multi-agency partnership to identify, engage and divert young people (from 10 to 14 years of age) from engaging in such criminality.”

The town’s involvement in the voluntary scheme has come after Thames Valley Police participated in a peer review.

And, the government says that communities in High Wycombe will now benefit from tailored support to understand the nature of gang-related crimes in the area.

Between April 2004 and the end of March 2015, there were 7,082 reported ‘victim based’ crimes in Wycombe district, with 1,370 of those reported incidents involving violence against a person.

These crimes are not all gang-related, but represent an overview of 'victim based' crime.

Last year, the mother of Jourdan Griffiths – who was stabbed to death in a High Wycombe squat six years ago – called for a gun and knife amnesty in the town and has now praised the additional support of the Ending Gangs and Youth Violence programme.

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Moya Griffiths said: “I think it can only be a good thing– the way gang crimes are growing in central London and on the outskirts is very worrying – we’re far too close to it not to be worried.

“There has been some incidents over the past 18 months [in Wycombe] – it doesn’t necessarily mean it is gang related, but it is worrying.

“I still think a gun and knife amnesty is still warranted in the area – if they aren’t taken away it won’t stop.”

As well as High Wycombe, the scheme has also been rolled out in Basildon, Grimsby, Harrow, Hastings, Medway, Sefton, Southampton and Swindon.

The programme has been working in 43 other areas since 2012.

East Wycombe Independent councillor for Totteridge, Cllr Julia Wassell, said: “How many isolated incidents make it a problem? Regardless of the motives for the attack, if we have people carrying and using knives in Wycombe we have a problem.

“Recently we have seen crimes where people have been hit with sticks, people stabbed with knives and shot with guns.

“We shouldn’t be creating unnecessary fear, but we should be realistic – people are carrying knives in Wycombe.”