Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has been allocated funding for the next three years, subject to a successful application, which will enable the pioneering initiative to continue to prevent violence in the city-region.
The Government has today (Friday 1 April) announced a provisional amount of £5.86m for the year 2022/23, £4.3m for year two and £4.3m for year three.
Greater Manchester’s VRU, established in 2019, adopts a community-led approach to violence reduction, which brings together Greater Manchester Police, National Probation Service, health and education professionals, youth justice as well as local authorities to address the underlying causes of violence and work together with communities to prevent it.
Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire, Bev Hughes, said: “Through the Violence Reduction Unit, agencies and professionals across the city-region have been working hard to address the underlying causes of violent crime and provide the necessary support for victims.
“We recognise that more needs to be done to reduce serious violence in the city-region, and we hope today’s guarantee of more funding will reassure the public that we will never let up in our efforts to keep them safe.
“Access to this additional funding will allow us to continue to expand many of the initiatives that have proven to be successful in recent months, such as the Navigator project. The project works with young people aged 10-25 to help them cope and recover from their experience of violence, and assists with access to local support networks to prevent the potential for further violence. Initially rolled out in four hospitals across Greater Manchester, scope has already been expanded to include referrals from NWAS and the community, with over 300 referrals received. Additional funding will allow us to ensure even more young people can be supported by the project.”
The VRU works closely with communities to identify priorities and problem-solve while directing investment and interventions accordingly, building on the strengths of the community. To date, over £800,000 has been awarded to alliances made up of VCSE organisations in six boroughs of Greater Manchester.
The VRU also works with schools, colleges, and education establishments across Greater Manchester to deliver early intervention programmes to young people, such as the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) programme. MVP makes use of a creative bystander approach which emphasises changing social norms as the key to prevention and creates conversations that explore the role that gender and power plays out in the commission of abuse. The programme has already been rolled out in 25 schools, colleges, and community safety partnerships.
The government’s evaluation of the first 18 months’ performance of its Violence Reduction Units, published today, shows they are starting to have a positive impact reducing violent crime, with a total of 49,000 violent offences prevented across England and Wales in areas operating Violent Reduction Units and ‘hotspot policing’ initiatives.
Violence Reduction Units are a pioneering initiative that are now operating in 20 areas across England and Wales, bringing together local partners in policing, education and health, and local government, to share information in order to identify vulnerable children and adults at risk, while helping to steer them away from a life of crime and violence. Spearheading a twin-track approach that combines early intervention and prevention with tough policing, the government will inject a further £130 million in 2022/23 to drive down the most devastating types of crime – including knife crime, gun crime and homicide.