West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit
In February 2021, the Home Office announced that the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) would receive just over £3.3m of additional Government funding to continue in its efforts to tackle serious violent crime during 2021/22.
The county is one of 18 areas that initially received a portion of £35 million under the Home Office Serious Violence Fund to tackle the associated issues.
Through a unique public heath-led approach, the VRU brings together organisations across local communities to tackle underlying causes. It also helps fund vital local projects that undertake positive preventative work with children and young people.
The unit, launched in early 2020, has a partnership emphasis, with specialists from health, police, local authorities, education, youth justice, prisons, probation, community groups and others.
It takes 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 its public health approach, the VRU does not just focus on high-risk individuals, but considers how the causes of violence can be addressed. Public health approaches start from the principle that prevention is better than cure.
The progress of the unit, has seen the development of a long-term strategy to tackle serious violence and is continuing its proactive work across the county.
In 2020/21 alone, there have been 36 programmes delivered with 14,328 young people (24 and under) supported across a range of interventions. In addition, it has also helped 1,706 people over the age of 25.
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