The Strategic
VRU Board

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 

Paddy Tipping has been Nottinghamshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) since November 2012.  He is responsible, in consultation with the Chief Constable, for setting the police budget and designing the Police and Crime Plan, which sets the direction for police service delivery in Nottinghamshire.  He also consults with local people to make sure their views are reflected in the way policing is provided.

He is working hard, with support from local partners, to enhance neighbourhood policing and reduce anti-social behaviour, improve the services provided to victims, witnesses and vulnerable people and to focus effort in to areas of higher crime.


Major Trauma Surgeon

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.


Director of Public Health, Nottinghamshire County Council

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 of Children'and Families, Nottingham City Council

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.


Centre Director, Public Health England - East Midlands

Dr Fu-Meng Khaw, MD, FRCS, FFPH is Public Health for England's Centre Director for the East Midlands.

Meng joined PHE in April 2013 and is responsible for the local delivery of PHE's services and functions for eight upper-tier and unitary local authority areas.  Meng began his career as an orthopaedic surgeon before turning to public health.

He was appointed as Director of Public health in North Tyneside in 2009 and later in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2011, where he played a key role in the successful and safer transfer of public health to the local authority.

Meng was the PCT's corporate lead for health protection, screening programmes and emergency planning and as such, led the establishment of the Local Health Resilience Partnership and was the migrant health lead for the North East region.


Chief Executive, Nottingham College

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

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


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

During this time Hayley has 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.



Accountable Officer, Nottinghamshire CCG

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


Amanda is the Accountable Officer for Mansfield and Ashfield CCG and Newark and Sherwood CCG as well as being SRO of the Mid-Nottinghamshire Better Together programme.  This is a Vanguard Primary and Acute Care System (PACS) site, with alliance across health and local government.

Amanda has a clinical background, working as a nurse and a midwife before moving into senior management.  In 2001 she was awarded a PhD for reasearch investigating decision-making during pregnancy.

In her capacity as a consultant midwife, Amanda has worked at regional and national levels.  She chaired a working group on behalf of the National Screening Committee which developed national standards for ultrasound consent in pregnancy.  She has also edited midwifery text books and in July 2017 joined the NHSCC board as the representative for the East Midlands.


Chief Constable, Nottinghamshire Police

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,
Nottingham City Council

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


Alison is the Director of Public Health, for Nottingham City Council and is passionate about improving health and wellbeing in Nottingham, a City that she has worked in for many years including as a midwife, in Tobacco Control and as a Consultant in Public Health, prior to being appointed Director of Public Health.


Alison is strongly engaged with health and social care integration locally, as joint SRO for the Prevention workstream within the Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System (ICS) and as a member of the Nottingham City Integrated Care Provider (ICP). Nationally, Alison attends the boards for the Faculty of Public Health (FPH), representing the East Midlands region, the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) Board, as Faculty Observer, and the Tobacco Control Implementation Board.


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

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, East Midlands Ambulance Service

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

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

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.

© 2020 by Better Times Ltd

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