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VRU Orange Hand Logo Image

and Vision

The Strategic
VRU Board

the Team

Meet our Community

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Purpose and Vision

The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is a partnership that brings together specialists from Local Government, Health Education, Policing and Criminal Justice to work with communities and the third sector to reduce serious violence and tackle its underlying causes. We are determined to have a positive and lasting impact, and invite all sections of the community to join the big conversation about reducing violence together. We believe that intervening early to prevent issues emerging is the best way to ensure children, young people, families and communities in Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County thrive. Our work is underpinned by evidence of what works, and by working system wide as a partnership we plan to expand that evidence base, and well as create new evidence bases where none currently exist.

The VRU takes a public health approach to reducing violent crime, focusing on what will make a difference to whole populations, communities and groups. In practice this means we are looking beyond the statistics about incidents of crime and its causes to

research and evidence that explains why people behave in certain ways and what contributes to this behaviour. As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’, and the public heath approach means intervening through education and policy change before violence has chance to take hold, much in the same way as other population level health issues.

These interventions are aimed at building community resilience to violent crime and changing social norms, using the local intelligence to interrupt the transmission of violence by analysing where it may occur and intervening with those at higher risk.

The VRU is an outward-facing partnership, and we are engaging with all groups and individuals, be they public, private, or third sector who want to help reduce violence in Nottingham.


We encourage you to follow us on social media or our Latest News page to keep up to date with events and see how we can help your community.


The Strategic VRU Board


Police and Crime Commissioner 

Caroline Henry Image

Caroline Henry was elected as Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottingham on Thursday 13 May 2021.


Major Trauma Surgeon

Picture of Adam Brooks

Adam Brookes is the Pathway Lead for Major Trauma at Nottingham University Hospitals and Clinical Lead for Emergency Surgery.

Adam is responsbile to the regionalisation of Major Trauma Services across the East Midlands, the development of Queen's Medical Centre into the East Midlands regional Major Trauma Centre and for the modernisation of treatment pathways for patients with emergency surgical conditions across Nottingham.


Corporate Director of Children'and Families, Nottingham City Council

Catherine Underwood Image

Sponsor for the VRU's Trauma Informed Practice, Personal Resilience and Contextual Safeguarding work stream


Catherine is Corporate Director of People at Nottingham City Council.  She started her career in Nottinghamshire, qualifying as a social worker at Nottingham Trent University.

She has worked in a wide range of roles across local authorities and the NHS, focussing initially on mental health and subsequently moving into leadership and transformation roles at director level.

Catherine is the statutory director for children's services and adult social services.


Chief Executive, East Midlands Ambulance Service

Richard Henderson Image

Richard joined the Ambulance Service in 1996.  He is a qualified paramedic and has extensive experience having held clinical and operational senior managerial roles including as a Divisional manager for EMAS' Lincolnshire Division and Director of Operations for EMAS.

In March 2016, Richard became the EMAS Acting Chief Executive and the Chief Executive in October 2017.


Principal and Chief Executive, Vision

West Nottinghamshire College

Andrew Cropley Image

Sponsor for the VRU's Mentoring, Education and Training work stream


As the principal of West Nottinghamshire College in Mansfield, Andrew is passionate about further education and the wellbeing of the nation’s young people.


He is a strong advocate of the new opportunities and experiences that education can provide; helping to transform the lives of individuals and encouraging communities to thrive.


Andrew has held senior posts in further education over the past ten years, and also has a wealth of experience from a variety of military roles. He has great empathy for the challenges facing today’s young people, and sees his role as enabling everyone in the college to do their absolute best for the benefit of college students and the communities of Mansfield and Ashfield.


Associate Professor in Policing & Criminology, Nottingham Trent

Dr Andy Newton Image

Sponsor for the VRU's Data, Intelligence and Evidence work stream


Dr Andy Newton is an Associate Professor in Policing and Criminology at Nottingham Trent University, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice - which he joined in November 2019.


Previously he has worked at the Universities of Liverpool, Huddersfield and Leicester. He has 20 years’ experience in crime prevention and community safety – with particular expertise in crime analysis, policy monitoring and evidence-based evaluations, problem solving, and mixed methods research.


He is widely published and known internationally for his work on violence and the Night-Time Economy, Crime and Place Analysis, and Crime and Transport. He has worked collaboratively with a range of organisations including: Community Safety Partners (Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Kirklees); Police Forces (West Yorkshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, South Yorkshire, PSNI and BTP); and his research has been funded by Transport for London, Merseytravel, Metroline, Alcohol Concern, CrossRail, the Home Office, the Department for Transport, the College of Policing, and the EU Commission.


Chief Constable, Nottinghamshire Police

Picture of Chief Constable Caig Guildford

Sponsor for the VRU's Enforcement, Resettlement and Rehabilitation work stream


Craig Guildford's policing career began when he joined Cheshire Constabulary as a Police Constable in 1994 after completing a Geography degree at the University of Derby.  He had previously served as a volunteer Special Constable with the same force since 1992.

Craig joined Nottinghamshire Police as Chief Constable in February 2017 and, since joining the force, moved with his family to live in the County he serves.

Craig has been particularly committed to delivering a partnership focussed policing service that delivers value for money for local people while also increasing the number of police officers employed by the force.


Director of Public Health, Nottinghamshire County Council

Jonathan Gribbin Image

Sponsor for the VRU's Data, Intelligence and Evidence work stream


Jonathan has worked in public health in Nottinghamshire since 2009, taking up the role of Director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire County Council in 2018. 


When he took office his first Director of Public Health Annual Report was on Violence Prevention which was integral to improving health and wellbeing so that all residents can develop and fulfil their aspirations.


Alongside this overarching aim, important goals for Jonathan and his team are that no one in Nottinghamshire should grow, live or work in an environment which is harmful to their health, and that everyone should have access to support to make choices which lead to good health and wellbeing.


Corporate Director, Children's, Families and Cultural Services, Nottinghamshire County Council

Colin Pettigrew Image

Sponsor for the VRU's Trauma Informed Practice, Personal Resilience and Contextual Safeguarding work stream


Colin joined Nottinghamshire County Council in October 2015 as Corporate Director for Children and Families, leading one of the largest departments delivering children, families and cultural services in the Country, serving over 110,000 children in Nottinghamshire.

He had previously been in post as Director of Children's Services at Sefton Metropolitan Borough council in Merseyside.  

As a qualified and registered Social Worker, Colin has worked in children's services for a number of local authorities and charities over the last 30 years.  He also spent nearly two years working for the Department for Children, Schools and Families, leading on improvements under the Every Child Matters agenda and new policies on child poverty and children with disabilities.


Chief Executive, Nottingham College

John Van Der Laarschot Image

Sponsor for the VRU's Mentoring, Education and Training work stream

John van de Laarschot has been Chief Executive for Nottingham College since 2016.  A passionate advocate for young people, John is particularly passionate about working with staff, students and partners to build Nottingham College into a beacon of excellence, delivering outstanding opportunities for young people of all abilities and backgrounds.

A Chief Executive with a national profile, John has successfully led large-scale organisations in the private and public sectors including Coca Cola, Mars, Pepsi Co, Gerber Scientific, Wessanen, Torridge Council and Stoke on Trent City Council.

During a combined 35 year public, private, UK and international career, John has worked with partners and colleagues to remodel, redesign, integrate and transform a diverse range of organisations into highly efficient customer-centric operations.


CEO, Mansfield District Council

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Sponsor for the VRU's Community Capacity Building and Empowerment work stream


Hayley Barsby worked for Mansfield District Council for 20 years, first starting as a clerical assistant and working her way up to CEO in 2019.

During that time Hayley had numerous different roles in the Council, including Head of Housing and Director of Communities. 


Hayley is particularly passionate about protecting the services that matter most to Mansfield residents, and is interested in exploring how best to work with public, private, and third sector organisations to achieve this.


Founder and CEO of Switch Up CIC and the Nottingham School of Boxing

Marcellus Baz Image

Community Ambassador


Switch Up and the Nottingham School of Boxing utilise sport, mentoring, education and counselling to transform the lives of young people and transition them into employment, training and further education.

Marcellus was born in a deprived area of Nottingham and groomed into criminality before dedicating his life to supporting communities affected by crime and violence. In 2016 he was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Award and a British Empire Medal.

He works with Nottingham's deprived communities with the main target being vulnerable young people who are often from minority groups, although Marcellus and his team help anyone that will benefit from a positive role model so they can believe in achieving a career outside of crime.