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Violence Reduction Units Prevent Thousands of Violent Offences Across the Country

  • Government initiative to turn young people away from violent crime has prevent more than 3,200 violent injuries since 2019.

  • More than £5 million has been invested in the scheme in Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland helping to support projects such as the Violence Intervention Project.

  • Latest national statistics show that since 2019, hospital admissions for stabbings are down 24 per cent.


Young people across Leicestershire are being turned away from violent crime, as new statistics published today show that the government’s Violence Reduction Units have helped prevent thousands of serious attacks across the country.


New research published by the government today shows that, nationally, an estimated 3,220 hospital admissions for any violent injury have been prevented since 2019 thanks to Violence Reduction Units working in local communities.  


Established in 2019, Violence Reductions Units bring together local partners in policing, education, health and local government to steer young people away from a life of crime. These are now active in 20 areas across England and Wales, focused in areas with a high prevalence of serious violence.


In Leicestershire, to date, more than 9,300 young people have been supported by the scheme and encouraged to turn their lives away from serious violent crime.


Policing Minister Chris Philp said: 


“The government is continuing to clamp down on crime and keep our streets safe. Serious violence is down 24% since 2019 but it is clear this is a complex issue and early intervention is key. 


“This is why we have already provided over £5 million directly into Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Today’s report proves we are going in the right direction to help at-risk young people. 


“Alongside hotspot patrols and record numbers of police officers on our streets, the multi-agency VRUs will continue to help us make every community a safe and prosperous place to live.” 


Some of the projects supported through this initiative include offering specialist support to young people admitted to A&E, following a violent attack. This can include mental health support, referrals to specialist health treatments and offering mentoring to ensure they avoid a cycle of violence.

One successful project in Leicestershire is the Violence Intervention Project (VIP), which provides support to young people who attend the Accident & Emergency Department at Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI).

VIP support workers engage with young people aged 11-25 to offer support to aid recovery and address pressing issues such as safety or emotional well-being. They then continue to support the young person following discharge, offering them mentoring and practical assistance to help achieve their goals.

One Leicestershire 16-year-old attended LRI after an altercation with another girl her own age. She is a past victim of sexual abuse and coercive control and became known to local police for being involved in criminal behaviour.

At her VIP assessment, she was identified as being persistently absent from school, missing from home and having poor mental health. Interventions from the Violence Reduction Network advocated for her to return to college and work on her relationship with her mum.

Six months on, she now has a full-time job, has a healthy relationship with her partner and mother, and has started a new college course. She has not reoffended, and the VIP team believe she is no longer considered to be at risk of exploitation.

The 16-year-old Leicestershire girl said: “Thank you for everything you've done for me and never giving up on me. If it wasn't for all your advice and support, I'd still be the girl from back then.”

Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland said:

“I have been clear from the outset that I, like most law-abiding residents, wanted to see violence reduced across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.  The work of the Violence Reduction Network is pivotal to that goal.

“I am absolutely delighted that there are clear indications that its work is having a real impact and the number of seriously violent offences is reducing.  This in turn reduces the number of victims, eases the pressure on policing demand and indeed across numerous other organisations, notably health services.”


Latest national statistics show that since 2019, hospital admissions for stabbings are down 24 per cent as the government continues its effort to combat all forms of serious violence.


Further investment into the ‘Grip’ hotspot policing programme, which operates in the same 20 areas as Violence Reductions Units, is also helping to reduce serious violence by using data to identify key hotspots and target more high-visibility police patrols in those areas.


Nationwide, Violence Reductions Units have supported more than 270,000 young people in their fourth year of operation alone. This has been backed by £160 million of government support, including £55m being invested this year.


The Home Office is also investing £200 million in the Youth Endowment Fund to understand how to better prevent youth violence. This provides funding for more than 230 organisations, reaching over 117,000 young people since it was set up in 2019. 


Recent data has also shown that more than 120,000 weapons have been removed from Britain’s streets since 2019 – with almost half through stop and searches.


The Home Office is also introducing new legislation which will ban machetes and zombie-style knives with no practical use and police will have more powers to seize them in a bid to crack down on their use in street violence. 


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