Statement by Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, Alun Michael
Here in Wales our approach to preventing violence is centred upon the principle that co-operation is fundamental to success, complemented by clarity of purpose and a shared ambition. This approach is perfectly illustrated through the Wales Violence Prevention Unit by Commissioners and Chief Constables in Wales working together, supported by Public Health Wales as well as by Local Authorities, Third Sector organisations and Welsh Government.
Collectively we are focused on prevention of harm - a public health approach to addressing the root causes of violence - and I have been particularly encouraged by the way in which the Unit has looked to understand and address both knife crime and exploitation to ensure that people in Wales can live a life free of serious violence and the scourge of domestic violence and abuse which is a scourge of every community.
I welcome the additional three-year funding announced today by the Home Office, as it allows us to continue this vital work, with an ambition to prevent all forms of violence across our communities here in Wales. The funding is an endorsement of the impact of the Violence Prevention Unit which is clearly demonstrating what can be achieved through targeted action, strong partnership working, innovation and an evidence-based approach. Our Unit and Violence Reduction Units in England are sharing learning and over the next 3 years we will build on the strong foundations that have been established and further develop our understanding and response to violence here in Wales to support safe, confident and resilient communities.
Statement by Jon Drake, Director, Wales Violence Prevention Unit:
The additional three-year funding from the Home Office to the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner provides vital support toward the VPU’s mission to prevent violence in Wales. Perhaps more importantly, though, is the fact that this funding has been awarded as there is clear evidence that the whole-system approach to tackling violent crime is working. Specifically, data from UK Government indicates 49,000 violent offences were prevented across England and Wales through the work of Violence Reduction Units and additional ‘hotspot’ policing initiatives.
Already we are seeing changes in the way violence is perceived and responded to amongst our Welsh partners. Our Year One Evaluation indicated that the VPU had begun to create system-level changes in violence prevention, encouraging organisations to focus upon violence prevention as a public health issue. Our Year Two Evaluation demonstrates how we have built upon this success by now influencing sustainable change through embedding a public health approach to violence prevention across the system.
However, there is still much to do, with violence very much prevalent across all communities in Wales. This funding will enable us to continue to support young people in South Wales affected by violence through our existing interventions, and allow us to commission more interventions to protect those experiencing or at risk of experiencing violence. It will support us to deliver research on violence prevention, which will be invaluable to partners across Wales and beyond. It will allow us to further develop our data sharing and analysis systems, which are crucial to supporting a multi-agency approach to violence prevention.
It is our mission to prevent violence in Wales, but we know we cannot do this alone. Over the next three years, we will prioritise empowering young people to coproduce solutions for ending youth violence in Wales, reducing inequality by tackling the root causes of violence, building our partnerships for prevention and continuing to evaluate our impact to gain a better understanding of what works to prevent violence. These priorities will ensure we continue to deliver sustainable change, supported by coproduced solutions for people in Wales. Ultimately, it will ensure we are able to achieve our mission of a Wales free from violence.Jon Drake, Director, Wales Violence Prevention Unit