New investment supporting young people at risk of serious violence in West Yorkshire

Efforts to divert young people from the clutches of serious violence have received a significant boost.

The West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has been successful in a £485,000 funding bid from the Home Office to capitalise on ‘Teachable Moments’.

These are opportunities when those at risk of violence are likely to be most receptive, such as admission to hospital or police custody.

It then connects them to a package of support and directs them along a more positive life path.

Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), Chief Superintendent Jackie Marsh said:

“This additional investment means that we can expand upon many of the local projects already underway, such as our A&E Navigator and Community Links programmes.

“These help to identify and signpost young people into the right support networks at the earliest opportunity, when it is clear that there are implications around serious violent crime.

“The money will also help to build upon our work with the police in identifying vulnerable young people, who might be at risk or already involved in a criminal activity.

“By taking the approach of early intervention and prevention, working with individuals, their peers and family networks, we can reduce any escalation in behaviour and steer them into more positive lifestyles.

“The funding will also support the deployment of a car carrying experienced youth workers, support workers with lived experience and a non-uniformed police officer to intervene at the ‘teachable moment’ following or immediately after an incident.”

West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe added:

“It is really important that we continue to see sustained investment from Government, which can be translated into action by our local Violence Reduction Unit.

“These are really valuable partnership interventions, and we can see from the work that has already been undertaken locally, that they are having a marked effect.

“For them to succeed, however, there must be a long-term commitment and I will be doing all I can to support these efforts and increase safety across our communities.”