Violence and Vulnerability Unit

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ATCM are pleased to announce a partnership with the Violence and Vulnerability Unit from September 2017. This initiative is a recognition by the Home Office and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) that tackling gang and drugs networks is a priority for the government and providing this resource and expertise, is a commitment to help local authorities protect their communities and their vulnerable populations.

Having already successfully supported 15 areas outside of London, and a further 9 London boroughs in 2016/2017 the Home Office and MOPAC have commissioned the Unit and ATCM to extend this support to cover more areas in 2107/18.


Increasingly, crime is being committed in private spaces, rather than the public sphere, and this type of crime often involves the criminal exploitation of children and adults on a physical, sexual or financial basis. Nationally, this is now a major concern as gang activity based around “county lines” is impacting on a number of areas and leading to increasing reports of serious violence.

About the Unit

The Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU) is a small national team of community safety experts who have been commissioned to work in partnership with ATCM, to deliver targeted support to local areas who are being adversely affected by serious youth violence, county lines and the associated violence and exploitation of vulnerable people.

The offer

There are several key areas of intervention and support that being offered by the VVU:

  • Locality Reviews
  • Strategic Framework Reviews
  • Training facilities

Locality Reviews (LR’s):

The LR is a one-day process for local areas as part of the national strategy to tackle serious youth violence. It works as a broad-brush set of interviews and focus groups with front-line practitioners to gather information, knowledge and perception whilst building a qualitative picture of the key issues and drivers around county lines, gangs, youth violence and vulnerability. It is a rapid evidential assessment process that focuses on violence and vulnerability.

It should –

  • Enable rapid assessment of issues around gang activity, serious youth violence and victimisation through drawing upon the experiences of practitioners, communities, victims and offenders

  • Test the prevalence of issues identified through cross-referencing opinions/perception from interviewees/groups and relevant quantitative data

  • Identify barriers to effectively understanding and tackling local priorities (in relation to threat, risk and harm)

The review reflects the information gathered from the practitioner interview time table and often highlights communication issues as well as potential gaps and barriers to identification and effective intervention.

Strategic Framework Reviews (SFR)

Tackling this threat has to be everybody’s business.

Locality reviews help partnerships understand issues around gangs, violence and vulnerability through a practitioners’ eyes. However, in order to ensure that work to tackle serious youth violence is effective, there needs to be a common county-wide or regional approach that is both planned and managed through a strategic framework.

This framework outlines what’s achievable across the county with consensus that this is a new type of challenge with the following ingredients and players 

  • Serious youth violence / gangs
  • Drugs, health
  • Safe guarding vulnerable adults and young people, including the MISPER process
  • Cross border element
  • Links to radicalisation and extremism

This requires the active involvement of the PCC and police, but also community safety, public health, health and well-being boards, schools, children’s services and adult social services. The framework establishes county wide common principles and activity based around 5 themes -

Data/intelligence - understanding the nature of the threat posed by gangs around violence and vulnerability.

Governance - This is about leadership, vision, partnerships, performance management and target monitoring.

Enforcement / cross border working –This requires a review about procedures and activities, and a re-assessment the tools and powers that are effective in tackling the rise in exploitation, trafficking and modern slavery.

Prevention - Preventing young people from becoming involved with gangs, violence and vulnerability.

Safeguarding - This work is also about safeguarding and protecting vulnerable people, who are being exploited by gangs/groups.

Training facilities

Gangs and drugs networks (County Lines) On-line training course

Responding to the request that many local practitioners at all levels and across a diverse range of agencies, require basic working knowledge of the county lines/gang phenomenon, the VVU has developed an online training facility.

The training is a knowledge based course which takes participants through organised youth violence explaining how the system works, the terminology and how to recognise the signs.

Participants are invited to apply their knowledge to a number of scenarios to test their learning.

This demonstrates the shifts participants understanding and the results are recoded and fed back to training managers (for example that perpetrators / gang members are often victims themselves).

The National Learning Group

Ending Gang Violence & Exploitation (EGVE) Forum

All participants of LR and a SRF are invited to belong to the National working group (EGVE Forum). This is a group that holds monthly teleconferences facilitated by the Home Office that discusses local experiences and feeds back local and national best practice.

The learning group also keeps participants informed of new issues emerging related to gangs, drugs and serious organised crime as well as keeping them informed about policy updates and government initiatives (quarterly EGVE Forum meetings in London).

Regional meetings

In partnership with ATCM the VVU will be attending regional meetings to facilitate discussions about the work and providing a practitioner’s forum to discuss ideas and work plans.

The Unit Personnel

The Unit consists of 4 key managers and a wide range of associates who all have their own areas of expertise.

Programme Director: Simon Ford

Delivery Managers: Mick McNally,  Paul Cullen

Training Manager: John Dunworth

Contact Us:

Tel: 0778 961 7376

The Place Management Conference 2018: Violence and Vulnerability

Join us for The Place Management Conference in Central London on the 17th April where we will present early findings from our Violence and Vulnerability Unit. 

For more information, click here.