Welcoming the London Violence Reduction Unit

The Youth Violence Commission looks forward to supporting City Hall's public health approach to tackle violence in the capital.

The Youth Violence Commission welcomes the Mayor’s recent announcement to establish a London Violence Reduction Unit, which will bring together police, health and local government to tackle violent crime. For the last two years, the Youth Violence Commission has been consulting with stakeholders across the country, reviewing models of violence reduction from around the world and conducting research into the manifestation of violence in young people’s lives. In 2017 a delegation from the Commission conducted a fact finding visit to Glasgow to learn about the successful work of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit. This visit, coupled with oral evidence received from members of the Scottish VRU, was important in shaping the Commission’s recommendations on the public health approach.

In July, the Youth Violence Commission launched its interim report outlining our early findings and policy recommendations based on our research so far. Our first recommendation calls for the development of a national public health model, which would bring together multiple agencies to deliver a long-term strategic approach to tackle violence.

Vicky Foxcroft MP, Chair of the Youth Violence Commission, welcomed the launch of a London Violence Reduction Unit: “I am delighted that the Mayor is announcing the new Violence Reduction Unit, building on the public health approach and driving forward a long-term strategic approach to tackling violence, which I have advocated in my role as Chair of the Youth Violence Commission. This approach has achieved hugely positive impacts in Glasgow, so I am glad that it will form a key part of the Mayor’s plans.”

We also recognise, however, that the announcement from City Hall must now be followed with firm actions.   Establishing an effective VRU that is based on the public health approach, which is working in Scotland and elsewhere, requires fundamental change in organisational, financial and cultural structures and traditions.  This will require sustained focus and leadership from City Hall and a willingness to work with people from a wide range of institutions and communities whilst putting party politics aside.    In light of this development, the Commission has decided to refocus much of its resource and effort over the coming months to ensuring that the London Violence Reduction Unit gets the best start possible.   We look forward to working closely with the new Unit and to helping it develop a strategy that will address the root cause of violence for many years to come.

Whilst London has had particular challenges this year, serious youth violence is not confined to the capital.   Our Commission has always been a national one and we will continue to develop our recommendations as they apply to the UK more widely.  In particular, the issue of young people and mental health was one of the most recurring and significant themes in our work to date.  We hope to work closely with young people and experts on this particular issue as we take the Commission forward.    We will provide further details of our full work programme in due course.





This post was written by Vicky Foxcroft

September 27, 2018 10:00 am Leave your thoughts

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