POLICE Commissioner Kim McGuinness has welcomed new figures that show violent crime is down and more young people are being steered away from violence and criminality.

The latest figures show a 17% reduction in knife enabled serious violence, lower than levels witnessed before Covid in 2019.

The Violence Reduction Unit has set out its third year action plan that sees it continue to take a radical new approach to tackling the root causes of violent crime – a “public health” response in which violent lifestyles are treated like a disease, finding people who are at risk of learning violent behaviour and steering them away from exposure.

The PCC chaired the Violence Reduction Unit’s quarterly strategic board meeting last month and the figures show that since its inception there has been a reduction in serious and violent crime.

With hospital admissions caused by the use of sharp objects almost halved over the last two years and levels of violent crime reduced by up to 17% in areas such as Gateshead, the region’s most vulnerable young people and those on the cusp of crime are seeing their lives turned around through the Violence Reduction Unit’s preventative interventions.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said, “Our region has come a long way in such a short time, but we know there is still so much more to be done to improve lives and prevent crime in our communities and through the Violence Reduction Unit, I am committed to doing exactly that. This last year has been difficult for so many of us and we have had to be creative in adapting our approach.”

She added: “We cannot just arrest our way out the problem – instead we must continue to educate young people, prevent individuals from re-offending and rebuild our neighbourhood services that were lost to austerity.”

The impact of the Violence Reduction Unit is evident in the number of people engaging in its funded interventions over the last 12 months. Some of the fantastic results include 79 young people whose risk of committing serious and violent crime was reduced, 83 young people with no further police intelligence, 51 young people with improved school attendance and 21 families with increased resilience after accessing dedicated support.

Further community based interventions look to work with individuals to understand their offending behaviour, the impact this behaviour has on victims and to find solutions to identified issues.

The Violence Reduction Unit has also engaged almost 14,000 young people in 645 educational sessions as well as delivering knife crime awareness training to almost 800 frontline workers.

Ipsos MORI found that for every £1 invested in Violence Reduction Units, £3 is saved to the public purse. The most recent local evaluation conducted on year 2 activities found that a combination of the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit and Police Surge activity, showed savings of £7.5 million per year.

For more information please contact the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit by email.