VIOLENCE AND VULNERABILITY

Tackling Urban Gang Violence

In September 2017, ATCM formed a partnership with the Violence and Vulnerability Unit. Together, we deliver an a project on behalf of the Home Office and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) around tackling gang and drugs networks, a national priority for the government, providing this resource and expertise to help urban place management protect their communities and their vulnerable populations.

 
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BACKGROUND

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.

 
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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.

 
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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).

 
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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON RESOURCES AND TRAINING

Responding to the request from many local practitioners at all levels and across a diverse range of agencies, for training and support to provide a 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 participants developing understanding and the results are recorded and fed back to training managers.

Violence and Vulnerability Unit Online Courses and Training Materials

Download the Training Offer of the Violence and Vulnerability Unit as a PDF