National recognition for Violence Reduction Unit projects
27 October 2020
The impact being made by some of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) funded projects has been recognised in the annual Howard League Community Awards for 2020. The Calderdale Early Intervention Team at West Yorkshire Police has received a commendation under the ‘Policing and Children’ category.
Two other VRU related projects also reached the shortlisting stage including St Giles Trust Custody Diversion Project and CATCH.
Work on the establishment of West Yorkshire VRU was originally commenced in 2019 following a successful bid coordinated by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner with community safety partners to the Home Office’s Serious Violence Fund.
It takes a multi-agency approach to tackling violent crime, bringing together police, local government, public health, voluntary and third sector, community leaders and other key partners to tackle violent crime and crucially to understand and address its underlying causes.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson, who is also the national Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC Serious) Violence portfolio lead said:
“Having only officially launched the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit at the beginning of this year (2020), it is very encouraging to see that it is already making a tangible difference across our communities.
“Only by working closely together through community based initiatives and projects like this can we generate the type of traction required to start to modify behaviours in reducing harmful violent behaviour.
“Particularly among our young people, we need to educate and influence them at the earliest possible opportunity and divert them away from potential harm. This is exactly what the project in Calderdale is achieving and those incredible partnership efforts are beginning to bear their fruits through this excellent initiative.”
“We are under no illusion as to the sustained effort required to make long term positive changes, but the fact that this work has been recognised in this way, indicates that we are on the right path by developing such life changing opportunities.
“I would like to extend my personal thanks to all those delivering the projects, often in their own time, that have been commended and shortlisted for these national awards. The difference it can make to someone’s life cannot be underestimated.”
Sergeant Brandon Greenwood of the West Yorkshire Police Calderdale Early Intervention Team said:
"Dealing with the problem and not the symptom’ is one of the key principles that the early intervention teams across West Yorkshire Police and our partners adopt in their approach to deter young people from criminal and harmful behaviour.
"Our intervention works to reduce the risk factors and increase the protective factors in a child’s life. The inputs we provide highlighting the consequences of a particular path they are taking that can threaten the child’s development, limit future social and economic opportunities, and increase the likelihood of mental and physical health problems, criminal involvement, substance misuse, or exploitation or abuse.
"However we cannot achieve this on our own and have to thank the support of our partners who enable that holistic approach of tackling the emerging issues by involving the right people with the right skills.
"I would also like to thank the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office for the funding that has enabled my team to purchase activities and equipment that we use alongside the educational inputs we provide to young people."