Young people in police custody are set to benefit from a new support intervention to help prevent further crime, thanks to funding secured by PCC Kim McGuinness’ Violence Reduction Unit.

A ‘teachable moment’ is a point at which an individual will be more accepting to the offer of support. Therefore, the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit are working in partnership with Northumbria Police, Edge North East and Family Gateway to reach young people through this innovative intervention.

The service aims to intervene and prevent young people from becoming further involved in serious violence by treating the point a young person comes into custody as a teachable moment.

The funding, secured from the Home Office Serious Violence Interventions Fund, will enable support workers to approach young people in police custody with a primary focus on 10-17 year olds; building trusting relationships and providing ongoing support in the community.

The support offered beyond custody will focus on what is important to the young person including developing positive improvements in; key emotional, physical, and vulnerable behaviours that will support a sustainable move away from serious violence and exploitation.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: “By delivering teachable moments interventions to young people at risk or involved in serious violence, we have the potential to prevent them from heading down future paths of criminality. Through the work of my Violence Reduction Unit, young people will be able to benefit from this support as we aim to reduce serious violence, repeat offending and vulnerability in our region. It is vitally important that we continue to educate and support our young people to enable them to make positive decisions for the future.”

Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable, Neil Hutchison said: “We are committed to working with partners to look at longer-term solutions to reducing crime, ensuring we make the most of opportunities to prevent future offending and to protect vulnerable individuals and communities. Where appropriate, we would always seek alternative means of addressing offending by young people rather than arresting and bringing them into custody. However, where this is necessary, custody is a key ‘teachable moment’ and the inclusion of support to young people from this intervention will complement some of the existing work already under way with partners.”

Edge North East Managing Director, Collette Devlin-Smith said: “Edge North East are excited to be part of this innovative project that will provide much needed intervention at that crucial teachable moment with young people. We look forward to working with all partners involved in this project to make a difference to young people’s lives and their families’ lives.”

Family Gateway Chief Executive Officer, Julie Marriott said: “Family Gateway are proud to be working with young people and their families at a critical point in their lives, a point where a Teachable Moment may provide a gateway to different choices leading to a brighter future.  We look forward to working with our partners, young people and their families within this innovative and exciting project.”

For more information on the ‘teachable moments’ intervention, please contact the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit by email