The Hackney Liberal Democrats will tonight set out £1.5m plans to fund additonal community policing and a Violence Reduction Unit in Hackney based on the successful initiative that has drastically reduced knife crime and violence in Scotland in amendments to the proposed council budget set to be voted on at full council.
The amendments proposed to the 2018/19 budget will ask for an additional £713k for 10 additional police officers serving the borough (1 sergeant and 9 PCs) and £752k for youth workers across Hackney.
The additional policing and youth services capacity will be used to set up and fund the Violence Reduction Unit which takes a public health approach to violence with innovative schemes to identify and help vulnerable people alongside targeted policing based on intelligence to identify and disrupt groups and gangs engaging in violent activity.
Cllrs Abraham Jacobson(left)Dawwood Akhoon(Centre)
Ian Sharer (Right)
In a joint statement Councillor Ian Sharer and Councillor Abraham Jacobson said:
“The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) scheme would establish a partnership among Hackney Council, police, social services, education and community services and the local community to take a preventive approach to tackling violence in the borough.
It addresses violence first and foremost as a public health issue-an approach that led to a 69% fall in young people carrying knives since its introduction in Glasgow, and a drastic drop in knife related fatalities, which has led to the scheme being rolled out across Scotland.
The majority of the additional police officers and youth workers we have budgeted for would be assigned to the Hackney Violence Reduction Unit, dependant on advice when setting up the unit with some officers being deployed into more traditional community policing.
The extra policing will be intelligence gathering, gang violence analysis and group targeted enforcement to disrupt the dynamics within groups and gangs involved in violent activity, combined with making a range of services and programmes available to violent offenders who agree to alter their lives and recognise a real and urgent need to change.
The additional youth services investment would be focused on school mentoring programs and youth outreach work to identify and reach children who are already showing signs of violent behaviour, as well as additional youth services including sports to help give Hackney children somewhere appealing to go other than being on the streets.
The VRU will develop further schemes such as ‘Navigators’ in hospitals that work alongside medical staff to help guide victims of violence out of the cycle. We would also introduce training programs for key people in the community to learn the skills to reach out to those who have become victims of domestic and sexual abuse, bullying or hate crime, in recognition that violence as a whole needs to be tackled in our borough.
There are too many opportunities currently for people to fall through the cracks, the Violence Reduction Unit will allow us to take a joined up approach where all the key support areas can work together and act quickly to tackle the rising tide of violence in Hackney.
We need to realise that violence is not inevitable, it can be prevented and requires us not just tackling the consequences of violence, but also the circumstances that lead people to violence in the first place.”