West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has been acknowledged in a recent report by Public Health England.

The report looks at how organisations can pull together to prevent serious violence, through a public health, multi-agency approach.

This approach involves applying the principles of a public health crisis to tackle serious violence. A public health approach relies on knowledge from a broad range of organisations including education, health, social care and policing.

In the West Midlands knife crime has risen by 85% since 2012, gun crime is up by a third and violent crime against the person is up 32% in the last year alone.

The report has recognised the West Midlands Gangs and Violence Commission, which was commissioned by Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, is a community-led response to an increase in gang-related crime within Birmingham during 2015/2016.

The role of the Commission was to respond to the serious increase in the numbers of people hurt and killed by firearms, knives and other forms of violence. The Commission also responded to the families, friends and communities mourning the loss of loved ones and wider concerns about organised crime and serious violence in city neighbourhoods.

Led by senior community members, faith leaders and youth providers, the group conducted research into the causes of violent crime which produced a number of recommendations.

The Gangs and Violence Commission has been identified as responding to serious violence using a public health approach, engaging with young people and providing early intervention to vulnerable people.

The report identified many of the young people associated with issues relating to gangs and violence have experience ACEs, come from deprived backgrounds and are cautious of engaging with authority figures.

Public Health England also acknowledge the West Midlands Mentors against Violence Prevention (MVP), a programme which is delivered in partnership with the Violence Reduction Unit.

The scheme uses peer mentors to lead sessions with groups of other young people, to help identify healthy and unhealthy attitudes and behaviours and develop young people’s confidence.

The MVP programme works to challenge the factors behind violence such as bullying and name calling. The peer mentors work with the young people to establish how they might help a friend or fellow student who is faced with negative behaviour.

The work by the peer mentors means it is easy for schools to adopt the programme and help challenge the negative behaviours which have become normalised, to been seen as harmful.

Both the Gangs and Violence Commission and West Midlands MVP programme highlights the important work being done across the West Midlands to tackle serious violence in our communities.

Next steps:

On 2nd October 2019, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson and partners from across the region launched the new £4 million Violence Reduction Unit.

The unit consists of policing, health, local government, education and industry specialists. The new body will see the experts pool their talents as part of a big push to tackle the causes of violence.

New initiatives will be developed, piloted, evaluated and pushed out across the region.

Projects earmarked for expansion include current initiatives which place case workers in A&E units to help untangle people from a web of violence, experts based in GP surgeries to help domestic violence victims escape from an abusive partner, violence prevention programmes in schools and packages of support designed to prevent prisoners re-offending after being released.

The new Violence Reduction Unit will serve 2.8 million people in West Midlands.

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