A new body has been set up with the aim of tackling the root causes of serious violence in the city and county.
Rather than police just dealing with each violent crime as and when it happens, the idea is to take a more preventative approach.
It will be ‘evidence and data based’ – essentially looking at which factors make serious violent crime more likely, and then looking to predict and prevent where it is more likely to occur.
It uses what’s known as a ‘public health’ approach, borrowed from conventional healthcare.
Public health is essentially the idea that encouraging people to look after themselves properly in the first place is better for everyone than treating them afterwards.
Already two cities have been using a public health approach to tackle violence – Glasgow for around a decade and London for a year.
Now, Nottinghamshire and 17 other areas are set to follow suit, and the new group has just been given just under a million pounds by the Government, to fund it until the end of March.
It is now putting together documents on exactly how it will utilise this new approach, and hopes to be able to secure funding beyond March.
More details about the new group – called the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) – were discussed today at a meeting at the city council’s Health and Wellbeing Board.
Staff have now been seconded from the police and both city and county councils for the new unit, which is based at Loxley House.
Natalie Baker Swift is the VRU Programme Manager, and told the meeting: “In April 2018 the Government published its serious violence strategy, which sets out an ambitious programme of work to address increasing gun crime, knife crime and homicide across the UK.
“The strategy places an emphasis on early intervention, and prevention, and aimed to tackle the root causes of violence.
“Our approach is rooted in evidence, and effectiveness to tackle the problem, so using data and intelligence to understand the burden on a population including inequalities such as social, behavioural and environmental factors.
“The police are saying there’s been a really positive level of engagement so far, all organisations have turned things around very quickly to what’s been a really fast-paced piece of work.
“The funding is currently confirmed until the end of March 2020, which is unfortunate given that we’re trying to take a long-term approach.”
Next month, a community feedback forum will meet for the first time, with the idea being to bring together professionals from several different walks of life to help give their feedback on the plan, and share information about violence reduction between each other.
The meeting today heard that the broad range of organisations involved in the plan reflects its approach to take a wide-angled view of the factors which make serious violence more likely.
The full list of organisations involved is: Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner; Notts clinical commissioning groups; Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust; Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust; Nottinghashire city and county councils; Nottinghamshire Police; Nottingham Forest; Nottingham College; vision West Notts College; East Midlands Ambulance Service; the governor of HMP Nottingham; and Public Health England.
A city council report on the issue said: “Nottinghamshire’s VRU will be a small, coordinating hub that will build on the exciting work that is already taking place in the city and county to reduce violence.
“Central government are keen for all VRUs to utilise a public health approach to identifying and tackling the causes of violence in our communities and will encourage all partners to work together with our communities to take a systemic, evidence-based approach to this issue.
“Colleagues from both local authorities and Nottinghamshire Police are being seconded into the unit to support this work and to ensure that this supports existing activity and to avoid duplication.
Kit Sandeman , Local Democracy Reporting Service