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Nottinghamshire bucks national trend by cutting knife crime


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Latest Office for National Statistics data shows knife offences increased 6 per cent to a new record high across England and Wales. Nottinghamshire Police reduced offending by 13 per cent - and their Violence Reduction Unit tell Police Oracle how they did it.


Date - 4th August 2020
By - Chloe Livadeas

Nottinghamshire Police saw a 13 per cent reduction in the year ending March 2020.

The force say the reduction is down to “sustained and tactical proactive engagement with local communities”, coupled with investment into the force’s Knife Crime Team and Robbery Team, who focus on tackling weapon-enabled violence.

Schools and Early Intervention Officers have also been working in secondary schools across the county to drive home the prevention message over the last three academic years – prior to schools closing due to coronavirus.

Further investment from the Police and Crime Commissioner has gone into launching the Dare 25 programme in primary schools, which includes bespoke education on knife crime.  

This year, it was announced that Nottinghamshire Police would receive £1,003,730 of Home Office funding to help tackle violent and knife crime.

Chief Constable Craig Guildford said the funding had allowed them to tackle the problem through a combination of education and enforcement.

“Overall, we have a very robust approach to dealing with knife crime offenders, including youth offenders, to ensure that no opportunity is missed to divert them away from this kind of offending,” he said.

Chief Inspector Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s Force Lead for Knife Crime, said: “I am pleased with the reduction but we are not complacent. I look forward to the extra resources we have at our disposal thanks to the funding secured by the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and further Home Office funding.”

Dave Wakelin is Nottinghamshire Police’s VRU lead, which is in its second year of funding. Nottinghamshire is one 18 forces to receive money the units which tackle the issues of violent crime from a public health approach. 

2018 saw a spike in serious violence across the country and Nottinghamshire was particularly badly affected by some “profoundly sad and impactful cases in the community”, Mr Wakelin said.  

He said the force’s knife crime strategy was already in place before the VRU funding but simply did not have the finances behind them.

Now they’ve been able to put youth outreach workers city centres and other violence hotspots to use their community links to engage with potential perpetrators which is successfully cutting crime figures.

They have also put workers in prisons, custody suites and offender resettlement schemes to intervene with young people who could be at a crisis point and at risk of committing knife offences.

Evidence learning from most of their current projects is being fed back to the Home Office with the intention to share it nationally.

“We absolutely recognise that the learning needs to spread country wide,” Mr Wakelin said.

He said: “The VRU and the public health model allows us to really peel back the layers of the onion to get closer than we ever have before to understanding the absolute causes of violence.”

CC Guildford “We’ve achieved this as a result of excellent work with our partners, focusing and targeting the right people thanks to excellent intelligence gathering from our local communities and therefore checking and searching the right people, which ultimately leads to preventing crime.

“Street outreach workers, a custody diversion scheme and other initiatives including the Ben Kinsella Trust at the National Justice Museum serve to educate young people and help them to make positive life choices.

“Working with our partners in the city and county Youth Justice Services, among others, we have adopted a tailored approach to each individual to ensure they get access to the right kind of support.

“The whole of the force has got behind this and our crime reduction performance has been very impressive in all types of offences.”

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