As it heads into its fourth year, PCC Kim McGuinness’ Violence Reduction Unit has announced how it plans to ramp up its successful work that has seen a 30 per cent fall in young people re-offending across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.

Last year, following lockdown and the re-opening of the night-time economy, serious violence increased by 27% but is starting to fall with figures showing a 9% reduction from November, and the Commissioner wants to see everything possible being done to keep pushing this figure down

The Violence Reduction Unit’s fourth year plan will work see it:

  • use data and intelligence to target hotspot areas.
  • work closely with the whole of the family of repeat offenders to tackle violence.
  • build on community-based interventions and diversionary activities to reduce vulnerability and tackle offending.
  • Educate young people on the dangers and consequences of violent crime to help prevent them becoming involved.

Since Kim McGuinness set up the Violence Reduction Unit in 2019, the force area has seen a continued fall in re-offending rates, with offences committed by young people showing the most significant drop of almost 30%.

Building on the positive work to date, the Violence Reduction Unit’s interventions continue to show impact with:

  • 75% of those engaging in the custody diversion project have reduced involvement with the Criminal Justice System and plans to help keep out of trouble.
  • 68% of young people on the YOLO programme have not offended since.
  • 62% of those on the Employment and Women’s Pathways have not re-offended since.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness said: “I’ve set out a clear commitment to fight poverty and to fight crime and the work of the Violence Reduction Unit is so crucial when it comes to preventing crime and improving the lives of those who are most vulnerable to exploitation.

“Sadly, where poverty is most prevalent we tend to see more victims of violence and that’s not fair – but we cannot just arrest our way out the problem. That’s where the Violence Reduction Unit comes in, helping people at risk of becoming a victim or becoming drawn into crime. A lot of the community and intervention work is about getting to the bottom of the underlying causes of serious violence. And we have a brilliant team who go into schools educate kids. This work, along with diversionary activities – the clubs, the sports, the mentors – it’s about showing people a life without crime”.

Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit Director, Steven Hume said: “The North East is a phenomenal place to live and work and we want to make sure it remains a safe place too. That is why we are taking such a radical approach to tackling violent crime and reducing the risks for those most vulnerable to exploitation, before issues we are seeing on a national scale become a problem here. We know that we can’t resolve issues overnight, which is why our plan is for the long-term, working collaboratively with our partners so that we can continue to identify areas in most need of action, engage with communities, provide diversionary activities and educate young people.

In a recent survey, 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 showed savings of £7.5 million per year.

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