Partnership tackling serious violent crime in Sussex to get funding boost

08/02/2021

An innovative partnership tackling the root causes of serious violent crime in Sussex to protect young people and make our communities safer is to receive additional Home Office funding for 2021/22.

Sussex has been identified as one of eighteen forces across the UK who will continue to benefit from extra Home Office funding to tackle serious violence.

Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne has secured £1,760,000 over the last two years for the county’s first Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP).

Sussex Police have used this funding to bring together local authorities, health and education to identify and address the complex root causes of violent crime.

Three VRPs have been set up in Brighton & Hove, East and West Sussex, with an oversight group to monitor their targeted activity.

Partners have eagerly adopted a public health approach to addressing violence. This has included embedding tactics such as: early interventions to help vulnerable young people and educate them on the consequences of criminality; working with local community organisations and targeted prevention programmes. 

Today (8 February 2021), the Home Office has published an update stating that PCCs across the UK will receive additional funding from a further £35.5m for year 2021/22 to continue to fund specialist projects to tackle violent crime.

The further £880k available for Sussex is subject to receiving proposals from the VRP on spending allocations and these being agreed by the Home Office.

PCC Katy Bourne said: “The Home Office’s commitment to the future of our Violence Reduction Partnership is welcome news and will mean that Sussex Police and partners will be able to continue to intervene, rehabilitate and divert people away from crime, especially young people. 

“We know now that this approach, to learning more about and tackling serious violence, is working and I’m reassured that, in Sussex, partners are taking a positive, united stand against serious violence by working together to make a real difference.”

Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando said: “This additional funding will allow Sussex Police and our partners in local authorities, health, education and others to continue this vital work in tackling the complex root causes of serious violence in our society.

“Through this public health approach, we have seen fantastic early intervention programmes being carried out in local communities to prevent young people from becoming involved in crime.

“To make long-lasting and effective change we must keep working together to make our communities safer, protect young people and help them to build better futures.”

Some of the innovative projects working within the VRP are:

Brighton Streets is a partnership of three charities that employ youth workers to use detached youth work to build trusted relationships with the young people they meet. In the last 12 months they have engaged with over 1,500 young people across Brighton to reduce their risks of becoming involved in criminality.

Funding has been provided to the East Sussex Pupil Referral Network for a Youth Offending Team worker to target pupils aged 11–18 years who require additional support or have been permanently excluded from school. Between October 2019 and December 2020, the worker has engaged with over 116 pupils who have taken part in lessons on knife crime and participated in diversionary activities like kickboxing. Exclusion rates have dropped by almost half as a result.

West Sussex County Council have been working with the charity, Mentivity to provide mentoring services to young people who are identified as having multiple risks in school and at home during transition from middle school to high school. The team carried out 80 mentoring sessions to 11 year 7 children across 5 high schools in Worthing during October to December 2020, with an emphasis on increasing protective factors and building positive relationships with teachers and other caring adults.