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Violence prevention experts welcome extra £880k to stop young people being drawn into knife crime

Nottinghamshire is to receive an extra £880k from the Home Office to tackle serious violence and knife crime over the next 12 months, it has been revealed.


The Government today announced a further £35.5m to help Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) across the country continue their work to break the cycle of violence.


Nottinghamshire’s VRU has been allocated £880k to support its work which has already provided direct help to 1547 young people while reaching a further 142,000 young people through targeted social media.


Knife crime across the county continues to fall with latest figures by the Office for National Statistics showing a four per cent drop – outstripping a national reduction of three per cent and the regional increase of two per cent.


Today (9 February), Dave Wakelin, Director of Nottinghamshire VRU, will meet Policing Minister Kit Malthouse, the Home Office and other VRUs in a virtual round table event to lead discussions on the value of working with the community sector to tackle serious violence.


He said: “Clearly, we are delighted to have secured funding for another year to carry on the work with our communities to reduce serious violence and build on the extraordinary achievements of the past two years.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the Policing Minister today to discuss the importance of working with and for our communities and the great progress already made by the community and voluntary sector in supporting families and those affected by serious violence.


“Through this funding, we will be able to continue our work to develop capacity in our communities and support young people. In the coming year, we also want to work more closely with the educational sector and alternative provision providers to learn more about how we can, in partnership, support those at risk of offending including and those who are vulnerable which is a top priority for the Minister and the Home Office.


“I would like to thank every one of our partners for sharing our passion and determination to change the futures of young people in this county and look forward to our ongoing collaboration.”


Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “The VRU has become an integral part of the effort to reduce violence in Nottinghamshire and I warmly welcome this funding which will secure its activities for another 12 months.


“The team continues to work with some of Nottinghamshire’s most prolific offenders – members of street gangs who would be in prison without specialist intervention funded by the VRU. Many have embarked on education and training since agreeing to support, taking the first tentative steps to a life free of crime.


“The VRU is a shining example of how partner agencies can work collaboratively to tackle violence and achieve better outcomes for the vulnerable young people within their communities. Knife crime continues to fall in Nottinghamshire but we will not become complacent. There is much more to do.”


Chief Constable Craig Guildford, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This additional funding is a welcome boost to our successful ongoing partnership work to continue driving down knife crime and violence in our communities.


“As a result of our collective efforts, Nottinghamshire now has less knife crime per 1,000 population than the national average. Knife crime continues to fall here whilst other areas continue to see rises.”


The VRU supports a wealth of mentorship projects including the flagship custody mentoring scheme U-Turn, delivered by The Inspire & Achieve Foundation (IAF), which helps young people aged 16 to 26 who have been arrested for various offences to move away from crime and make a fresh start.


The project sees two full-time mentors, who have personal experience of the issues facing young offenders, working out of Nottingham’s Bridewell and Mansfield custody suites to support young people arrested for violence.


So far, the scheme has supported 28 young people – all of whom have stayed on the right side of the law since volunteering to engage with the mentors, with none of them reoffending. A total of 21 have progressed into education, employment or training (seventy-five per cent), half have been assisted in finding suitable accommodation and 96 per cent have been supported with reducing their drug use or addictions.


Among those helped by the scheme was a 22-year-old man who was heavily involved in violent gang crime in Nottingham and was at a great risk of slipping back into his old life upon release from prison. He has since secured full-time employment and has not reoffended.


Violence Reduction Units bring together organisations across local communities to tackle violent crime and address its underlying causes. These units also help fund vital local projects that do positive preventative work with children and young people.


This £35.5 million, which covers 2021/22, is the third year of funding for 18 Violence Reduction Units operating across England and Wales in areas worst affected by serious violence. This takes the total invested in Violence Reduction Units to more than £105 million and further delivers on the Government’s pledge to crack down on violent crime.


Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “Violence Reduction Units are providing life-changing support to young people.


“The Four Nations conference brings together expert minds to develop ideas and solutions which will make a real difference in tackling serious violence.


“Ultimately these are solutions that will ensure young people are able to lead positive lives and achieve their potential.”


Ends


Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401



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