This winter, the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit invested over £100,000 in communities, to fund targeted work aimed at driving down serious violence across the region.

Committed to identifying individuals causing significant harm in communities and diverting them from crime, the Violence Reduction Unit teamed up with partners such as Northumbria Police, local councils and youth organisations, in a bid to tackle serious violence together.

As winter plans got underway, including a focus on key events over the festive period, increased police patrols, more youth workers and diversionary activities for young people, early figures show the impact of this work with crime down 14% in December.

In Sunderland City Centre, crime dropped by a staggering 37% compared to the previous year, due to the increase in police presence, neighbourhood wardens and more youth and health provision.

This follows the success seen during the summer where levels of violence dropped by 12.2% across the region thanks to targeted interventions. With that in mind, the PCC chaired the Violence Reduction Unit’s quarterly strategic board meeting this month, where it was agreed to continue this targeted seasonal approach over the next two years.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “We know that this targeted action does work, we have seen significant impact during the summer and further positive results this winter. But we need to do more of it, which is why I’m delighted that the Violence Reduction Unit have set out plans to continue this work over the next two years along with a range of partners including Northumbria Police, local councils and youth organisations.”

Praising the commitment of everyone involved, she added: “We are always stronger when we work together, and I hope that by continuing this crucial work, it will provide some reassurance that we will do all we can to stop violent crime.”

Steven Hume, Director of the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, said: “Nationally, Violence Reduction Units are making significant progress in tackling serious violence, but, we recognise that more needs to be done. We know that where we have targeted work locally during the summer and winter months, we have seen a decline in violence. That is why it is incredibly important that we continue to target our interventions in areas of need, identify individuals causing the most harm and work with them to understand the root causes of their offending behaviour. We will not tolerate violence in our communities, so to those who choose not to engage in our interventions, there will be consequences.”

Councillor Claire Rowntree, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s brilliant to see the positive impact that partnership working with Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, Northumbria Police and Sunderland Business improvement District (BID) has had on making our city centre a safe and attractive place to be for residents, visitor and businesses. Our own involvement in this saw the City Council assisting with additional patrols by wardens and ASB officers as well as directing youth workers into areas most in need and I’m delighted that this tried and tested partnership approach has made such a positive difference.”

For more information about the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, visit the website.