PCC Kim McGuinness: The North East’s only dedicated Violence Reduction Unit sets out plan to cut crime.

The Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit is taking a radical new approach to combat violent crime in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, as it embarks on its fourth year.

The Unit will work with young people and troubled families to make it clear there is an alternative to violence and crime.

This comes as levels of serious violent crime and knife enabled offences increased during November before seeing a 13% decline in December.

Now, Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness has set out how the specialist unit will help fight crime and tackle the effects of poverty on hard hit families  in the North East.

As well as building on the positive work to date, the plan for the next year of action will include:

  • Engage young people to divert them from offending and reduce their risk of being involved in crime.
  • Focus on the continued importance of community-based interventions, involving individuals with lived experience in specialist help centres.
  • Work direct with the whole family to tackle issues of violence, through community-based interventions.
  • Target interventions in areas of most need.  

Some of the fantastic results, through vital mentoring programmes like YOLO, have seen 48 young people with reduced risk of committing serious and violent crime, 66 young people no longer on the police radar and 18 young people reporting increased feelings of safety.

The Violence Reduction Unit continues to make a positive impact on the individuals it supports. With early intervention as a priority, its dedicated education team have delivered 272 awareness sessions to 5622 young people in areas of most need, over the last few months.

Over 800 frontline staff have now received specialist awareness training to better support young people on the cusp of, or involved in knife crime. Staff feel they are able to better support the young people in their care thanks to the information on spotting the signs, the laws around carrying and using a knife, and the support services available.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness said: “No-one should be become the victim of violent crime. That’s why it’s so important for the Violence Reduction Unit to intervene and deter individuals from crime at the earliest opportunity. We cannot just arrest our way out the problem – instead we must continue to educate young people, upskill our professionals and provide that vital support for those individuals and families in most need”.

She added, “By increasing the number of people who know what to look out for, we can support more people before they are exploited or get involved in crime.”

Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit Director, Steven Hume said: “We are committed to reducing serious violence and vulnerability in our region. In the last three years, we have made significant progress but we know there is always more work to do and challenges to overcome. That is why we are taking such a radical approach to tackling the root causes of violent crime and address the offending behaviour of those causing the most disruption to our communities”.