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Stopping the spread of violence 'disease'


Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry at the recent Youth Charter launch

Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry has vowed to continue tackling the root causes of violence after knife crime and serious violence reduced over the last year in Nottinghamshire.

Proactive policing to take more weapons of the streets and targeted prevention work through the Violence Reduction Partnership have helped the county buck the national trend of rises in these crime types.

The latest national comparison figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, showed violence with injury reduced by 3% in the last financial year.

Knife crime also fell by 2% in the same period. The drop was even sharper when compared to pre-Covid levels in 2019-20 – with a 9% reduction.

Meanwhile, possession of weapons offences increased by 32% as a result of continued proactive policing, with two dedicated knife crime teams having a high success rate in stopping and searching suspects and recovering weapons.

Commissioner Henry said the Violence Reduction Partnership treated violence like a disease – putting preventative measures in place to stop it spreading.

“Every incident of violence is one too many but it is encouraging to see violence with injury and knife crime are falling in Nottinghamshire, whilst more weapons are being taken off our streets,” she said.

“This is a result not only of the enforcement work of Nottinghamshire Police, but the prevention work carried out by my Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Violence Reduction Partnership and other local agencies.

“Police enforcement alone does not stop violence. Here in Nottinghamshire we take a public health approach to reducing serious violence – which recognises that we must tackle the root causes.

“It treats violence in the same way as a disease – recognising the symptoms, understanding the causes and stopping the transmission. It uses interventions that are aimed at building community resilience to violent crime and changing social norms, using the local intelligence to interrupt the transmission of violence by analysing where it may happen and intervening with those at higher risk.

“This involves police, social services, mental health services, drug and alcohol services and many others, all working together to prevent violence from happening in the first place – rather than picking up the pieces after the harm has already been caused.”

The Violence Reduction Partnership leads a huge programme of preventative work across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, including diversionary youth activities, mentoring, counselling and education programmes.

Recent projects to be launched include the Another Way programme, which will work with up to 250 young people at risk of becoming involved in violence to help them leave their criminal connections behind and live a more positive lifestyle.

Another recent flagship programme is the Youth Charter, which involved young people in creating a quality standard for youth service provision.

The detached youth outreach programme was also launched earlier this year, with three different teams of youth workers taking to Nottingham’s streets to interact with young people who don’t interact with conventional youth clubs and provide information and support to help them steer clear of violence.

Alongside the prevention work, Nottinghamshire Police is extremely proactive in enforcement of violence crime and weapon-related offences.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead, said: “While overall knife crime has reduced by 2% in Nottinghamshire over the last year, we are never complacent and are always looking for new opportunities to tackle this issue. 

“Taking knives and offensive weapons off our streets remains a key priority for the force as we look to make Nottinghamshire a safer place to live, and proactive policing has been central towards our approach to doing this.

“We are one of only a handful of police forces who have two dedicated knife crime teams – for the city and county – with these specialist officers spending their shifts carrying out proactive patrols to close in on and stop potential knife carriers.

“The team carry out intelligence-led stop and searches on suspects that recent police intelligence suggests could be involved in weapon-enabled violence.

“In addition to knives, there has also been a focus on seizing offensive weapons, such as knuckledusters, Samurai swords and zombie knives, that are now illegal for anyone to keep in their home or have in a private place.

“Within each of our neighbourhood policing areas, we also have teams of officers working as part of Operation Reacher, who carry out targeted patrols and warrants across Nottinghamshire in a bid to identify offenders, including those involved in weapon-enabled crime.

“All this proactive police work has resulted in more suspects being arrested for possession of weapons offences in Nottinghamshire, and allowed us to take more of these dangerous weapons off our streets. 

“So much preventative work also goes on all year-round between Nottinghamshire Police and our partners about the dangers and consequences of picking up a knife or offensive weapon, whether that be through engagement work within the community or visits to schools and colleges.

“All these preventative methods play a significant role in helping hit home the message about the dangers of picking up a knife and ensuring we stop the harm that knife crime causes to communities.”

Posted on Thursday 27th July 2023
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