Phase 1 of the Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioners Violence Reduction Unit concludes at this months end, and phase 2 hopes to build on the hard work and positive change across the force area seen to date.

 Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, launched her Violence Reduction Unit 6 months ago with the objective of ‘improving lives to prevent crime’, and results so far indicate a positive response to the Commissioners vision – a reduction in knife enabled serious violence since the previous year of 18%.

Despite the challenges currently facing the charity and voluntary sector, the VRU continues to operate, ensuring suitable support is available to those who need it – both individuals and organisations.

Kim said: “We have obviously had to adapt to a new way of working during these challenging times, but we stand by our commitment to support the most vulnerable in any way that we can. The lockdown has caused a change in crime patterns and we are responding to this – we will continue to work with providers to ensure the support required is accessible to all.”

Since launching the unit, funding provided has enabled 32 organisations to directly impact over 3700 young people and adults through intervention work with the aim of improving lives to prevent crime.

The PCC pledged to support those most vulnerable and committed £930,000 to fund local services and organisations who would provide a range of intervention and outreach work across the Northumbria area.

Kim said: “When I set up my Violence Reduction Unit I outlined the need for organisations to come together to tackle the effects austerity has had on our society and our support networks, 6 months later and we are starting to see positive signs in response to our work.”

“Through the hard work of my office, Northumbria Police, and the organisations we are working with; thousands of young people have been educated through direct interventions in school and the community, we have developed our insight and understanding on this topic and we are in a stronger position now to expand our work and directly impact even more individuals.”

“Despite the situation we find ourselves in currently, we will build on these early successes and continue to improve lives to prevent crime as we have so far.”

Four key areas were identified that the Commissioner vowed to support; early intervention, youth diversion, mental health, and drugs, alcohol and homelessness. The response to tackling these issues has seen overwhelming support from the police, local authorities and other key partners – an approach which has delighted the PCC.

Kim said: “We know that we cannot solve this issue alone, we need people to come together and use our joined resources to provide a clear support pathway for those most vulnerable.”

“The support structure that was once there for young people is no more due to the cuts the public sector has seen over the years. We are looking to reverse the effects of this, but it is going to take time.”

All six local authorities have benefitted from the funding provided by the PCC, with a wide range of interventions on offer to their communities, including; school based awareness raising sessions, sport themed outreach work, drop in sessions for young people, early years support for families, and support for military veterans with housing and employment.

The Violence Reduction Unit will move into phase 2 post March 2020 following confirmation from the Home Office for another 12 months funding. To follow the work of the VRU, please visit