Tackling violence isn’t always about punishment
By Detective Superintendent Siobhan Gainer
“Heading-up a Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) may seem streets away from solving a murder, sexual assault or serious offence.
But I have learned in my few short weeks here of the importance of intervention in preventing those heart-breaking crimes from occurring at all.
A mix of vital experience
Our team contains a blend of local authority, police, probation service, fire service and uniquely, the Department for Work and Pensions staff. All are well-versed and have a clear passion for reducing the impact of violence on victims and their community and in particular, enabling young people to improve their life chances.
We fund and support voluntary sector, private and public organisations who use everything from skateboarding to story writing to engage young people. Preventing attacks on women working in the sex industry and guiding those on the fringes of unemployment into civil engineering are amongst the innovative projects going on.
Fighting our corner
Since my appointment, I have attended the launch of Weapons Down, Gloves Up which uses boxing to build confidence, imbue self-discipline and replace antisocial behaviour with positive activities.
Such programmes have not gone unnoticed. The High Sherriff of Merseyside and the Police and Crime Commissioner have come to our new Plaza headquarters to hear about what we do. There are more VIP visits and a special showcase event to come.
Giving them a voice
The fact that much of our work is created following consultation with young people is a pivotal point that has proved popular. A recent survey of ours’ showed that the level of fear and type of crime young people are concerned about, and from peer mentor programmes to young people working within A&E, we have put them at the start and heart of our work.
There are many strands to combating crime and each has its validity. But what a contribution we will have made if we prevent the ruinous violence that blights so many lives, from happening in the first place.”