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Violence Reduction Unit (VRU)

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 17th October 2019.

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Photo of Susan Hall Susan Hall Conservative

Which examples of best practice from other VRUs across the country have informed and continue to inform the operation of the London VRU?’

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

The safety and security of London is my top priority. That’s why I’m making sure that we’re doing all we can in London to be tough on crime as well as the causes of crime.

As part of this approach, we set up London’s first Violence Reduction Unit last year, which is working to reduce violence and to put communities and young people at the heart of tackling this problem. We’re working in partnership with key public sector bodies, including the police, the probation services, local authorities, the NHS and schools.

One of the most critical partnerships we have is with the communities that are most affected. Over the last six months, the London VRU has made a huge effort to listen to their experiences, which is helping to focus our efforts.

As we were the first in England and Wales to establish a VRU, it’s new units from across the country that have been keen to speak to us in London. For example, we’ve been happy to give advice and guidance to the West Midlands and West Yorkshire. However, we’re always looking to learn from best practice. So, the VRU team has visited:

The London VRU has also been in contact with academics in the United States and is learning from what’s happening in New York City and Chicago. This alongside the fact-finding mission to Glasgow earlier this year.

London is much bigger and has greater community diversity than Glasgow, but the city has implemented initiatives we can learn from. Amongst other things, the visit confirmed the importance of the negative impact of school exclusions and how important role models and mentoring can be.

Our VRU in London is starting to do some fantastic work, prioritising crime prevention with funded programmes now in place. These cover:

We know the best time to stop violent crime is before it starts - even with the backdrop of devastating cuts from the Government, we’ll continue to do all we can in London to invest in our young people and to expand opportunity for all.