Merseyside VRP’s work to prevent violence & engage young people featured in national publication

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Diversionary youth work carried out by Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership is featured in a new national publication showcasing some of the best initiatives to reduce serious violence across England and Wales.

The 42-page digital publication ‘Violence Reduction Units In Focus has been produced by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and is the latest in a series of documents produced to showcase the work of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).

The report aims to provide an insight into the work being delivered by Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) across England and Wales, illustrating how they are using a multi-agency, public health approach to support young people and prevent serious violent crime.

The document, which includes a foreword from the Minister for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service, the Rt Hon Kit Malthouse MP, demonstrates how PCCs around the country are supporting their local VRUs in using an evidence-based approach to prevent violence.

Among the 18 case studies showcased in the new publication is one from Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) supported by the region’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy. It details how much of the VRP’s work is focussed on evidence-based interventions designed to give young people a brighter future.

It highlights that, despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus outbreak, more than 32,600 young people have engaged with interventions funded or supported by the VRP during the last year, with more than 6,600 pupils engaged in educational activities and nearly 5,800 young people involved in specific targeted interventions. It also promotes some of the projects currently being run and some of the VRP’s key achievements to date.

Jane said: “Violent crime brings devastation and misery, blighting the lives of victims, their families and whole communities. The best way to fight it is by preventing crime in the first place.

“For me, it was crucial Merseyside’s VRP took a long-term, evidence-based approach to tackling the underlying factors which lead to violent crime, to drive lasting change.

“I’m delighted that a snapshot of this work has been featured in this new national publication produced by the Association of PCCs, enabling more people to find out about the really effective work our VRP is delivering to engage with vulnerable young people.”

Merseyside’s VRP lead Andy Ryan said: “The VRP has supported a whole host of organisations whose excellent youth engagement work across Merseyside, both before and during Covid, is Merseyside VRP logotestament to their commitment to – and expertise in – helping young people who are at risk of being involved in serious violence, either as a victim or a potential perpetrator.

“We are extremely proud and pleased to support this work and remain committed to this – especially as the unprecedented challenges faced by young people prompt new ways of working, new perspectives and the need for sustained delivery of youth work.”

Crime, Policing and Fire Service Minister Kit Malthouse said: “In their first year of delivery, over 2019/20, VRUs have generally made good progress in embedding a local, multi-agency approach.

“Local communities and young people are the biggest stakeholders in this work; they experience violence and its devastating consequences at home, on the street and in their communities. Listening to them and ensuring they have a say in the design of local responses is essential if we want to see success.”

APCC serious violence lead and West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns-Wiiliamson OBE said: “Police and Crime Commissioners have a hugely important role in taking a lead to tackle serious violence in our communities. We have to intervene earlier where necessary, to ensure we are providing positive alternatives to those at risk and vulnerable to being drawn into violent crime.

“I believe PCCs are very well placed to do this working through local Violence Reduction Units, by further embedding a whole system public health approach to make an impact on the ground. And many good examples of the progress already being made through VRUs are shown in this special ‘In Focus’ edition.”

Take a look at APCC Violence Reduction Units In Focus


In 2019 the Home Office announced that 18 Police and Crime Commissioners in areas worst affected by violent crime would share £35 million to establish Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), with a further £35 million provided for 2020/21.

Find out more information about Merseyside’s VRP.