The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, says the Violence Reduction Partnership is working hard to prevent, tackle and reduce violence – and more importantly, it is having a positive impact.
The Commissioner’s comments come after the latest crime data showed youth violence levels have dropped by 9% across the region, with 400 fewer victims, when comparing data from April to Sept 2022 and April to Sept 2023.
The West Midlands Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) was set up in 2019, to work across the region and was designed to specifically prevent, tackle and reduce violent crime. It does this by tackling the root causes of violence and acknowledging that simply making more arrests, important though that is, will not solve the issues our region faces. The VRP invests in communities and sets up projects, that work to support people affected by violence, create routes out of it and most importantly, prevent it from happening in the first place.
The VRP is made up of hundreds of people from across the region, including a range of experts from public and community organisations, faith leaders and charities. The people and organisations are all working together to provide services, such as positive activities in communities, mentoring, counselling, sports programmes and targeted one to one support.
Earlier this year the VRP launched a £2 million programme in Coventry and Wolverhampton called CIRV, which aims to provide bespoke support to young people involved in violence and positive routes out. As well as CIRV, the VRP has also placed youth workers in Accident and Emergency units across the West Midlands to ensure young people, admitted with injuries caused by violence, receive the support they need to stay safe in the future, understand their choices and provide them with alternatives.
Dudley has seen a new youth centre open up at the Merry Hill Shopping Centre, offering help for substance misuse, tailored support available for LGBTQ+ young people and access to the Dudley Young Carers Support Group.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “Preventing, tackling and reducing violence is a top priority, because of the devastating consequences for victims, families, friends and local communities.
“We need robust policing to deal with people who are intent on causing harm to others. However, no matter how effective policing is, it cannot tackle violence all on its own. That is why our VRP focuses on prevention, early intervention and addressing the underlying causes of violence.
“The recent reduction in youth violence is welcome. However, I am not remotely complacent. One victim of violence, is one too many. Both the VRP and I, are committed to collective, constant and unremitting action to prevent, tackle and reduce violence, protect people and save lives.”