Members will be asked to back plans for a public health approach to violence reduction that will treat serious youth violence, including knife crime, as a public health issue.
The work will build on the 31.7% reduction in knife crime with injury, and the 21.7% reduction in serious youth violence achieved in the borough this year (from the rolling 12 months from May 2018 to April 2019 compared to May 2017 to April 2018) *.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities, said: “Levels of knife crime in Croydon are steadily reducing and are now lower than two years ago - but we have much further to go.
“We made a manifesto commitment to taking a public health approach to tackling violence and this is an important step in making this pledge a reality. In Croydon this means recognising that we all have a role – both statutory and community sectors working hand in glove - in stopping violence from happening, and stepping in earlier and earlier.
“Croydon’s Vulnerable Adolescents Review reinforced what we already know – that early help and preventative care, along with a greater recognition of children’s emotional health and wellbeing is key to helping to stop this violence.
“Our approach is shared by London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), led by Lib Peck, and we look forward to working closely together to make Croydon even safer for everyone.”
VRU director, Lib Peck, said: “The causes of violent crime are extremely complex and involve deep-seated problems like poverty, inequality, social alienation and a lack of opportunities for young people.
“The VRU is taking a fundamentally different approach to violence reduction – one where we all work together with communities to help reduce violence.
“We look forward to working with Croydon Council to drive down violence and the VRU will provide London with greater capacity, expertise and coordination to identify the root causes of violence and deliver early interventions to help prevent its spread.”
Croydon’s approach acknowledges the complexity of the problem and seeks to work with partners to prevent violence before it happens by focusing on the causes, as well as the impact of the offences.
Importantly, the public health approach means that everyone has a role to play in preventing and reducing violence; it is a societal issue as opposed to the responsibility of a single agency or group of agencies.
The plans include the development of trauma-based training for staff, the community and voluntary sectors. This will enable people to identify and understand adverse childhood and adult experiences and ensure those who experience them are properly supported.
Children and young people who experience trauma are more likely to develop health-harming and antisocial behaviours, perform poorly in school and be involved with crime.
The council’s Violence Reduction Network will work closely with communities to identify those at risk of offending, and to develop community based prevention services with the aim of stopping violence before it occurs and signposting individuals to support, education and training to help them achieve their potential
Categories of violence included in Croydon’s public health approach will include:
*Source: Met Stats.