MD2376 Mobilisation costs for Violence Reduction Unit
The Mayor’s approval is being sought for the allocation of £500,000 from the Greater London Authority (‘GLA’) to the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime (‘MOPAC’) to enable the mobilisation of a new Violence Reduction Unit (the ‘Unit’).
The aim of the new Unit is to bring together police, health organisations and local government to tackle violent crime in London. Its focus will be to deliver a long-term public health approach to tackling the root causes of violent crime. The work of the unit will create greater capacity to bring together partners at a pan-London strategic level to help prevent the spread of violence.
The Mayor approves:
The allocation of £500,000 funding to MOPAC to provide for initial mobilisation costs for the establishment of a London Violence Reduction Unit. This to be funded from the 2017-18 surplus on business rates the GLA has received. The funding will be made as revenue grant under section 121 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (‘GLA Act’).
Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice
Violent crime has been rising in London and across the country since 2014. Through his Knife Crime Strategy, the Mayor is leading urgent work to tackle the immediate problems of violence in London. However, the causes of violent crime are extremely complex, involving deep-seated societal problems like poverty, social alienation, mental ill-health and a lack of opportunity. Treating these causes requires a new, public-health approach, treating violence and its causes as a disease and addressing it as such.
The aim of the new Violence Reduction Unit (the ‘Unit’) is to bring together police, health organisations and local government to tackle violent crime, its focus will be to deliver the long-term public health approach to tackling the causes of violent crime in London. The work of the unit will create greater capacity to bring together partners at a pan-London strategic level to help prevent the spread of violence.
The Mayor is invited to agree to provide an initial £500,000 towards establishing the Unit over the coming months. The new Unit will improve co-ordination between the Metropolitan Police, local authorities, health services, criminal justice agencies, youth services, community groups and City Hall.
The Unit’s work will be informed by extensive research to understand the approaches taken in Glasgow where a similar scheme has been undertaken, as well as building on the public health approach underway at City Hall and the hard work London boroughs are undertaking to understand and address the causes of serious youth violence.
Practically, the Unit will aim to better understand the risk factors in a person’s early life that can lead to serious violence by using data from health, criminal justice and other public services. Alongside, focusing on improved and speeded up interventions at a local level, with the aim of reducing violence and protecting those vulnerable to exploitation.
This work will happen on a pan-London basis working with boroughs, local police Basic Command Units, the local community, families, the health service and criminal justice agencies.
The work of the Unit will be informed by a long-term approach, as the factors underpinning violent crime are complex and multifaceted. It will function alongside enforcement. The Metropolitan Police and its City Hall-funded Violent Crime Taskforce have been working hard, since first being set up in April, to drive down violence by making arrests and taking knives and weapons off the streets.
The Unit will also complement the Mayor’s investment in preventative services, such as the new £45 million Young Londoners Fund, which is providing young people with positive alternatives to crime and to help those caught up in gangs to get into employment and training. The Unit also builds on the wide range of interventions already delivered by the Mayor’s Knife Crime Strategy, including every London borough now having a bespoke Knife Crime Action Plan, every school and college having access to a knife wand, £1.4m invested to provide youth workers in Major Trauma Centres and the Mayor’s first anti-knife crime media campaign, ‘London Needs You Alive’.
The Unit’s long-term aim is to reduce violent crime in London by tackling its root causes. The Unit will achieve this by bringing together a partnership of all relevant agencies, organisations and communities to deliver a public health approach – treating violence as a disease and addressing it as such, through the systematic process of assessing the problem, policy development and evaluation.
Short- and medium- term objectives to realise that aim will be discussed and agreed by the Unit’s partners as the Unit develops.
Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the “Equality Act”), the GLA and MOPAC, as public authorities, must have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. Protected characteristics under the Equality Act comprise age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and marriage or civil partnership status.
This decision is not expected to have any negative impact on persons with a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. This money is provided to enable a mobilisation phase, as part of this mobilisation work a full Equality Impact Assessment will be conducted for the future state of the Violence Reduction Unit.
MOPAC’s agreed gross budget presented in the Mayor’s Final 2018-19 Budget was £58.1m.
The proposed additional contribution of £0.5m to MOPAC requested in this MD is to be funded from the 2017-18 surplus on business rates the GLA has received. The funding will be made as revenue grant under section 121 of the GLA Act 1999.
Ongoing funding to support the Unit will be considered as part of the Mayor’s 2019-20 budget process.
The GLA has powers to make a revenue grant to its Functional Bodies for the purposes of, or in connection with, the discharge of their functions. The making of grants between the GLA and its Functional Bodies is subject to the framework set out in section 121 of the GLA Act, under which the Mayor must consent to the payment of a grant for revenue expenditure for the undertaking of activities as referred to in this Decision. The funding proposal and the activities of the Unit are consistent with the Mayor’s powers to do anything that furthers social improvement under s 30 of the GLA Act.
MOPAC’s general powers are set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (the 2011 Act) which include those relating to community safety and crime prevention under Section 5 (b) of that Act. The development and preparation of the Violent Crime Reduction Unit is consistent with MOPAC’s statutory objectives.
Section 143 (1) (a) of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides that MOPAC, “may provide or arrange for the provision of— (a)services that in the opinion of the local policing body will secure, or contribute to securing, crime and disorder reduction in the body's area;” The Unit is seeking to address the root cause of violence in London with an aim to reduce levels of violence which is consistent with that power.
MOPAC has begun the process of mobilising the Unit, engaging short term resource for the initial stages, partnership working to develop the proposal and seeking to recruit a substantive Director for the Unit.