Criminal Justice

Latest figures show reduced crime in areas where Violence Reduction Units operate


Latest figures show reduction in violent crime in areas where Violence Reduction Units operate

Latest Home Office figures reveal that in the areas of England and Wales where Violence Reduction Units exist, up to 136,000 violent offences have been prevented.

Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) were introduced in 2019 as a way of offering a public health approach to reducing violent crime, and involve different agencies coming together to offer initiatives aimed at preventing violence before it happens.

These can include programmes that engage young people before they offend, as well as initiatives that work with people to stop them from offending again.

Thousands of people have been supported, and for every £1 invested in violence prevention by the Government, there has been a return of £4.10 in savings to society.

Causeway have the contract to run one of these incredible VRU initiatives in South Yorkshire, and have helped hundreds of people turn away from violence and towards a life of stability.

Our Plan B programme works with people across South Yorkshire who find themselves in custody for committing a violent offence. Our Plan B navigators visit them in custody and offer them support in addressing the issues that may have led to them offending, such as trauma, addiction, housing, or mental health issues.

Plan B Senior Service Manager, Stuart Otten, said:  “After working in partnership with South Yorkshire VRU, it is extremely encouraging for us at Causeway to finally start seeing the data match up with what we have been seeing on the ground.

"It is clear to us through the many hundreds of changed lives we’ve seen, that these holistic approaches can work for those who are willing to engage with us, and put in the work to steer themselves away from what otherwise could be a darker and more dangerous path.”

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit added: “At the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, our mission is to work in partnership with organisations and communities to prevent and reduce violence.

“These initiatives engage with people at what is called a ‘reachable and teachable’ moment, and try to steer them onto a different path. Navigators can provide support with employment, housing, benefits, and job applications, among other things.

“There is evidence that this approach does make a difference to those the Navigators engage, and we are looking forward to continuing our work on these programmes in 2023/24.”

Becky* was recently supported by the Plan B team in Sheffield after being arrested for assault.

“When I was in the cell after my arrest I was down and depressed. When I got out, I had nowhere to go, so I slept in the bus station for two nights. I didn’t see a way forward. I had no clue how to resolve my issues, and I thought about killing myself. I had no idea how to get the basics of a roof over my head sorted out.

I called Mark from Plan B. The first thing we did was get coffee. After that, we started applying for emergency accommodation. Whilst at the emergency accommodation I acquired long-term housing. Thankfully, during this time I also resolved my substance misuse issues, and I’ve managed to remain clean for five and a half months now.

I feel I have a better, brighter future. I am looking forward to joining groups, and making my new house my home. I’ve never had anywhere to call ‘my home’ because my life has been unstable since I was 13.

If I hadn’t met Mark from Plan B while I was in custody, I know I would not be where I am today.”