The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit

The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction report will be presented for Cabinet's consideration at their next meeting on Wednesday 21 October. This report will provide information about the Violence Reduction Unit and the implications for Barnsley.

In 2019, the Home Secretary announced that £35m would be made available to establish Violence Reduction Units; after a successful application, South Yorkshire secured £1.6m to establish the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit. The funding is being used to enhance partnership working, deliver a public health approach and undertake a range of new interventions and initiatives to reduce violence.  

A South Yorkshire area profile has been created to identifying the drivers of violence in local areas and the initial steps to identify the people most affected.

Barnsley's local profile has identified six key strategic themes which have been allocated timescales for further development:

The first looks at reducing violence in the streets. Six areas have been identified, based upon an analysis of the crime data, for targeted interventions, prevention and disruption violence.

To reduce the impact of alcohol on violence, activities will:

  • improve the sharing of data in relation to harm caused by alcohol-related violence by March 2021
  • more retailers will be encouraged to join the 'Reduce the Strength' campaign
  • hospital navigators will be piloted to work with those affected by violence by March 2021
  • increase the number of interventions with multi-agency forums by November 2020
  • evaluate violence associated with licensed events and locations from January 2021

More work must be done to reduce the instances of violence associated with the evening and night-time economy. This will be achieved by:

  • obtaining data, the accident and emergency department for more information on injuries relating to violence that is linked to the evening and night-time economy by March 2021 
  • equipping town centre and Principal Town door staff with Smart Tag
  • Including door staff, street marshals and street pastors in the town centre in the Joining Forces initiative by December 2020
  • targeted campaigns will focus on preventing and deterring violence linked to busy and festive periods

The local profile has identified levels of violence (both victim and perpetrator) associated with young people aged between 15 and 30. As part of the aim to reduce work will be carried out by March 2021 with:

  • schools will be given the opportunity to be part of a 'Mentors in Violence Prevention programme'
  • work with Early Help and Children and Family Service to identify those at risk of becoming involved in violence
  • the commissioning of intervention in schools in priority locations. 

Working to end domestic abuse and create a zero-tolerance will include education through:

  • educational 'Speak Up' campaigns within communities
  • encouraging reporting to help vulnerable people feel safe and supported
  • aims to increase the number of people who leave violent relationships. 

Preventing the escalation of the use of weapons and disrupting criminal activity where these are a feature. This work will include:

  • developing a better understanding of violence involving weapons in the borough
  • offering ways out of crime by expanding programmes and projects
  • further multi-agency activity to prevent and disrupt organised criminality 
  • the 'Mentors in Violence Programme' will be offered to schools to prevent young people from being involved in gangs and child criminal exploitation

Cllr Jenny Platts, cabinet spokesperson for Adults and Communities, said; "The work both from the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), South Yorkshire Police and our Safer Neighbourhoods team has given a picture of what our communities are facing. With clear planning and joint working with the Safer Barnsley Partnership and the VRU, we are confident that we can all work together to improve people's lives, reduce violence and make Barnsley a safer place to live, work and study.

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