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New “focused deterrence” strategy to help tackle violent crime in Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has received £1million in funding to develop and trial a new programme in the city of Manchester which aims to help people leave a life of violent crime behind them.

15/09/22

New “focused deterrence” strategy to help tackle violent crime in Greater Manchester

A new strategy has been given £1 million to tackle violent crime in Manchester.

The investment is to enable areas to trial ‘focused deterrence’ – a strategy developed in the USA.

Focused deterrence attempts to identify the people most likely to be involved in violence and supports them to stop. Projects have worked with children as young as 14 or 15.

The programme will provide support to help people involved in violence to access positive support and social services. It also aims to engage the wider community to communicate that they want violence to stop and those involved to be safe, provide support, and encourage reintegration in the community. Projects will often arrange engagement between the people who are the focus of the intervention and victims’ family members, reformed former group members, and faith leaders.

It says it will also provide “clear communication” of the consequences of violence and swift and certain enforcement if violence does occur.

The financial boost is part of a £6million joint investment, shared between a number of different regions across England, from the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) and Home Office. Research from the YEF shows that focused deterrence strategies in other countries have been highly effective – on average reducing crime by 33%. YEF and the Home Office are now investing in learning more about what impact it could have in England.

The project will be subject to rigorous evaluation, to learn how well it works to make the city of Manchester safer. It will bring a number of different agencies and community groups – including the police, social services, housing providers, faith leaders and schools.

Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice, and fire, Bev Hughes, said the project will build on the work the VRU is already carrying out across the city region to engage with people and prevent these terrible crimes from being committed.

“I’m really pleased that the city of Manchester is set to receive this funding so we can trial a new, innovative approach that has achieved success in other countries in preventing people from committing violent crimes. If this project is able to impact just one person in the city of Manchester, then it has potentially saved a life.

“We see far too often the devastating consequences they have on our communities and those who lose loved ones to shocking incidents which are sadly preventable. We must do all we can to tackle these issues, and this approach which combines support with swift enforcement action, is another way we can now do that.”

Jon Yates, Executive Director at the Youth Endowment Fund, said the approach has shown positive results elsewhere in the world and that he hopes it will produce similar results in England.

“From Chicago to Glasgow, focused deterrence has saved lives. When we get the police and the community to work together, we can identify and support young people and pull them away from crime and violence. This has worked across the world. We now need to get it working in England.”

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