Violence Reduction Unit: Assembly's recommendations
At the end of an urgent investigation into violent crime in London, the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee has written a letter to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, requesting that he take urgent steps to tackle the high levels of violence in the capital – which has seen more than 120 homicides so far, this year.
The committee has welcomed the Mayor’s establishment of a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), and the move toward a ‘public health approach’ but is concerned about the lack of detail about the unit and what it will mean in practice.
The committee has written to the Mayor with recommendations aimed at shaping the future work of the VRU, including:
- The VRU must tackle all forms of violence - whether it is committed with a gun, a knife, a broken bottle or a fist; and either by an adult or a young person. This includes tackling domestic violence.
- Prevention is key. The VRU should explicitly focus on tackling ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) - the term given to traumatic situations children live through—which increase the likelihood of poor outcomes by impacting on physical health, cognitive development and behaviour.
- The VRU needs to focus on school exclusions at an early stage in its work programme.
- The Mayor and the VRU should call on social media providers to take down all content that explicitly calls for the use of violence.
The letter can be read in the attachment below.
On 8 March 2019, the Mayor responded to the Committee's letter giving responses to - among other matters - concerns over Adverse Childhood Experiences, the impact of social media, and the role of local officers.
His letter can be found in the attachment below.