Over three years, the London Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has been allocated £21 million from the Home Office’s Serious Violence Fund (SVF) to bring together key partners across health, education, policing, the criminal justice system, amongst others to identify the drivers of serious violence in London and deliver a tailored response to tackle them.
The VRU have utilised this funding to deliver a wide range of interventions which supported over 2750 young people in 2020/21. This includes innovative projects like the DIVERT programme, which engages with young people in custody immediately following a serious violence incident at a ‘teachable moment’ when they are expected to be most likely to change their behaviour.
This £21 million investment includes a £7 million allocation for London in the 2021/22 financial year. We have worked closely with the VRU on the development of their proposals for the year ahead, collaborating to ensure that effective interventions, structures, and partners are in place to respond to the root causes of violence across London’s 32 boroughs. These proposals have since been agreed and activity is being delivered throughout the summer months.
Future funding decisions are subject to the ongoing Spending Review, and we will engage with HM Treasury on proposals in due course as part of the departmental settlement. Whilst we cannot pre-empt the potential outcome of that process, we do recognise the need for VRUs to function as long-term, sustainable organisations and are working hard to achieve this.