Croydon has announced plans to create a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and adopt a public health approach to tackle the root causes of serious violent crime.

This is in line with the approach adopted by Glasgow, which led to homicide figures dropping dramatically.

Over the 10 year period from 2008-09 to 2017-18, the number of homicide cases in Scotland fell by 39% (38 cases) from 97 to 59. Glasgow City accounted for over one third (34%) of this decrease.

The public health approach advocates treating crime as a public health issue and focusing on prevention rather than cure.

Croydon’s VRU will take a personal approach to each serious violent crime, taking the viewpoint that each offence stems from a wide range of issues, from inequality and poverty to vulnerable young people and families with complex needs.

The VRU will initially include the FJC anti-domestic abuse service, CCTV, the antisocial behaviour team and the Prevent team, which works to safeguard residents from the risk of radicalisation. Moving forward these council teams will work with other partners across the health system, the criminal justice system and voluntary sector to tackle the root causes of serious violence

The proposals (which can be viewed here) will be considered by the council’s cabinet on Monday 19 November, when members will be asked to approve the work.

Croydon’s plans will build on its recent successes in crime reduction. In the last 12 months it has been one of the only boroughs in London to see knife crime decrease.

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities

“Working together with communities we’ve started to see a reduction in serious youth violence. However, we know from the recent loss of life in London, that we need to work harder to make further reductions.

“We’re encouraged that our approach to tackling serious youth violence was recognised as an example of good practice at the mayor’s Knife Crime Summit by the police and London councils.

“We are working closely with the Mayor of London and his deputy Sophie Linden to share our experience as his team moves forward with plans for the pan-London VRU.”

Croydon’s proposals are being developed as part of the council’s ongoing community safety review.

The restructure and successes show the council’s commitment to the Corporate Plan (2018-2022) – to deliver a public health approach, and to ensure ‘everyone feels safe in their street, their neighbourhood and their home’.