The VRN Team

A central team is based in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner at Leicestershire Police HQ and comprises staff seconded from partner agencies.

The team's role is to:

  • Lead the implementation of the Response Plan

  • Champion the VRN's vision, core principles and the Prevention Framework including supporting its application to other types of violence

  • Co-ordinate and promote strategic messaging and campaigns around serious violence

  • Ensure young people and communitues are fully involved in the Network

  • Generate and provide multi-agency data products, including management information for the Board and develop the necessary information sharing infrastructure

  • Provide strategic co-ordination of serious violence prevention activity, improving consistency with the evidence-base and reducing duplication

  • Generate and cascade resources including providing briefings on the findings from needs assessments, the evidence base and relevant local and national developments

  • Support organisation, other Boards and partners to strengthen their violence prevention offer

  • Design, test and evaluate new interventions

  • Promote and embed the Network within partnership and community arenas to broaden membership and reach

Meet the Team:

Grace Strong, Strategic Director of the VRN


Strategic Director

As Strategic Director, Grace is responsible for the overall leadership and strategic development of the VRN including the management of the central team.

Grace is seconded into this role from the local Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) which provides local probation services.  She started her career as a Probation Service Assistant 25 years ao and since then has worked in a variety of settings as a practitioner, practice development manager, team manager and senior leader within and beyond Leicestershire and Rutland.

Throughout her career she has worked operationally and strategically with a wide range of public, private and voluntary and community sector organisations and has led numerous partnership projects and intitiatives.

Sumaya Bihi image


Project Development Officer

Sumaya has recently graduated with a Public Health Degree and has joined the VRN as Project Development Officer, supporting the Programme Manager and the rest of the team.


Alongside undertaking her degree, Sumaya also volunteered in the community by setting up a women’s coffee morning in St Matthews, Leicester and many more projects for young people and the elderly in her community. She was also part of the Youth Commission as a Youth Coordinator for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland.

Beth Grewcock Image


Performance Analyst

Beth recently graduated University with a Chemistry degree and has joined the VRN as a Performance/Data Analyst.  He role is to develop the evidence-based approach to violence prevention by gathering and analysing multi-agency data allowing the team to understand the extent, nature and causes of violence in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

The data analysed will be delivered in the VRN's Strategic Needs Assessment, alongside a strategy and response plan.

Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy Image


Evidence and Evaluation Lead

As the Evidence and Evaluation Lead, Stevie is responsible for designing, commissioning and delivery the VRN's programme of evaluation.  She also leads on the development of a multi-agency data hub which will improve understanding, planning and delivery of the local response to serious violence and other harmful behaviours.

Over the past decade, Stevie has led complex, high profile research and evaluation projects for the public and private sector and not for profit organisations which have shaped national and international policy relating to crime and justice.  She is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Leicester and sits on national advisory panels for the Crown Prosecution Service, the Government Equalities Office and the Office for Students.

Olivia Jones Image


Programme Manager

As Programme Manager, Olivia will work closely with the VRN team to develop the projects the network will deliver, monitor progress and build an effective programme structure that will help the network to deliver its aim of tackling violence and addressing its root causes.


Olivia has been working in the public sector for the past 5 years on a range of different projects and programmes. She is committed to delivering high quality services and successful projects for both the organisations she works for and the communities they serve. In her previous role as a Project Development Officer in the Police & Crime Commissioners Office she has experience of working and developing projects with partners including voluntary and community sector organisations.

Ivan Liburd Image


Lead for Community Partnerships

Ivan's role in the VRN is to identify and build upon the community's existing strengths and to support communities to prevent violence in their geographical area.  Ivan will work in partnership with communities, both formal and informal, to help deliver improvements in and for the community which also supports and promotes opportunities for involvement and participation of those people most affected by violence.

Ivan has been involved in the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) in different capacities since the age of 20, and has worked for large charities and volunteered for front-line community groups across various work streams such as Health and Public Health, Social Care, Young People, Community Development and Sport.

Gurjit Samra-Rai Image


Head of Service Design and Implementation

As Head of Service Design and Implementation Gurjit’s role in the VRN is to work with partners to develop existing services and co-design and commission new services aimed at preventing and reducing violence.  The VRN is committed to co-production and will draw on data and the evidence of effectiveness to ensure that services are relevant, responsive and effective.

Gurjit is seconded into the team from Leicestershire County Council.  She has over 20years of experience within the public sector, including front line delivery, policy writing and strategic planning. Her commitment to working collaboratively across all sectors, including statutory, voluntary and community has led to over £2 million coming into Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland from central government for projects to support the most vulnerable people.

Detective Inspector Hazell Sandall


Detective Inspector, Leicestershire Police

Detective Inspector Hazel Sandall has been seconded into the team from the Leicestershire Police.


Hazel has served as a police officer for over 20 years. She has experience in numerous uniform and detective positions within serious and volume crime, as well as forensic and safeguarding departments. Within these roles Hazel has worked with multiple partners across a range of sectors locally and nationally.

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