In 2019 the Home Office announced that 18 Police and Crime Commissioners in areas worst affected by violent crime would share £35 million to establish Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), with a further £35 million provided for 2020/21.
The work of the VRUs is part of the Government’s drive to tackle crime and make communities safer. The units provide a multi-agency public health approach – bringing different organisations together – including police, local government, health, education, community leaders and other key partners to understand the root causes of serious violence and provide a co-ordinated strategic response to help drive it down.
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), with Home Office support, has published ‘VRUs In Focus’ demonstrating how VRUs are progressing and their achievements to date despite the challenges of COVID-19.
APCC Serious Violence Lead, Mark Burns-Williamson OBE and PCC for West Yorkshire said:
“Serious violence can blight communities and lead to devastating consequences and although the impact is more often felt in our large cities, the problem also reaches into our towns and rural areas.
“Any approach needs to be evidence-based and consistent, investing in effective preventative measures over a sustained period of time.
“Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have a hugely important leading role in tackling serious violence in our communities. We have to intervene earlier where necessary, to ensure we provide positive alternatives to those at risk and vulnerable to being drawn into violent crime. I believe PCCs are very well placed to do this, working through local VRUs, to make an impact on the ground. Many good examples of progress already made through VRUs are shown in this special ‘In Focus’ edition.”
Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse MP said:
“I am delighted to introduce this ‘In Focus’ edition on Violence Reduction Units produced by the APCC, with support from PCCs, VRUs and the Home Office.
“Violent crime has devastating, traumatic and long-lasting impact on victims, families and wider communities. Tackling this problem is a top priority; that is why the Home Office has invested £70m over two years into the 18 areas worst affected by serious violence to develop multi-agency VRUs.
“In their first year of delivery, over 2019/20, VRUs have generally made good progress in embedding a local, multi-agency approach.
“Local communities and young people are the biggest stakeholders in this work; they experience violence and its devastating consequences at home, on the street and in their communities. Listening to them and ensuring they have a say in the design of local responses is essential if we want to see success.”
Please take time to read ‘VRUs In Focus’ and find out more about the multi-agency innovative and bespoke work to engage local communities and drive down violence.