The Home Office as part of their £100 million Serious Violence Fund announced in their March Spring statement that it was going to set aside £35 million to tackle serious violence.
The funding was allocated to 18 areas, including West Yorkshire and is to be spent in partnership with local authority, health and education partners across England and Wales.
Following a successful bid from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, West Yorkshire received £3.37million in funding, which has been used to set up a Violence Reduction Unit and to fund various local projects across all Districts in West Yorkshire to tackle and raise awareness about violent crime.
The West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) brings together specialists from health, police, local government, education, youth justice, prisons, probation and community organisations to tackle violent crime and the underlying causes of violent crime.
We are taking a fundamentally different approach to violence reduction – one where the public sector institutions and communities that make up West Yorkshire act together to help cut violence with early intervention, prevention, education and partnership working. Using a public health approach, the VRU does not just focus on high-risk individuals, but is looking at how we can tackle the causes of violence. Public health approaches start from the principle that prevention is better than cure.
West Yorkshire’s VRU is going to be responsible for identifying the key drivers of serious violence locally and are currently developing a coordinated response to tackle them.
Since the VRU was created last year, over £2milllion of grant funding has been given to 35 local and West Yorkshire-wide early intervention initiatives across all five West Yorkshire Districts.
In December 2019, the Home Office announced further funding for all of the 18 VRUs in the country, including West Yorkshire until March 2021, enabling West Yorkshire’s VRU to create a long-term strategy to tackle serious violence and continue the work, which is currently ongoing across the county.
Across West Yorkshire, we will work together to prevent violence and to reduce its harmful impact. We will do this by strengthening our partnerships, working with our communities, developing our understanding of the causes of violence and delivering interventions that make a lasting difference.
The work programme for the VRU is shaped through us developing understanding of the West Yorkshire context and evidence base and direction of our overarching priorities and commitments for 20/21. This incorporates data analysis from across organisations, consultation with communities and a review of evidence-based practice for tackling violent crime and its causes. We recognise, however, that there are some gaps in our understanding and as we build of our intelligence, data and knowledge, we further develop and refine our response to our four priorities.
- Empowering Communities and Building Resilience
- Infrastructure & Partnership Development
- Identify and Support those at risk
- Links with Enforcement