In April 2022, the Home Office told Cleveland’s OPCC it had been successful in gaining Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) funding over a three year period.
This led to the Cleveland Unit for the Reduction of Violence (CURV) being established.
CURV has been tasked with bringing together all partners and stakeholders to develop and deliver an intelligence and evidence-led strategy. It would aim to reduce serious violence across Cleveland through a public health agenda.
The core function of CURV is to provide leadership and strategic coordination of Cleveland’s response to serious violence.
The partnership will deliver this by strengthening partnerships, working with communities and ensuring specified authorities, partners and key stakeholders collaborate to achieve agreed objectives.
CURV’s primary measures of success are to deliver the following:
- A reduction in hospital admissions for assaults with a knife or sharp object – especially among victims aged under 25.
- A reduction in knife-enabled serious violence – especially among victims aged under 25.
- A reduction in all non-domestic homicides – especially among victims aged under 25 involving knives.
Cleveland ranks among the top 10 areas for police-recorded knife crime and hospital admissions for knife/sharp object assaults. As rates are continuing to rise, CURV will prioritise activities, which seek to reduce these figures.
Activities will be aligned with the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF)toolkit of interventions. They will focus on those deemed to be ‘high impact’ or ‘moderate impact’ with ‘high evidence’ in order to contribute to the reduction of serious violence.
Such interventions should include the following:
- Effective engagement with under-25s – but not excluding adults.
- Steering young people away from serious violence, crime, or potential harm.
Navigator programmes – specifically A&E Navigator programmes – are classified by the YEF toolkit as ‘High Impact.’ The Home Office accepts that Custody Navigators meet the same requirement.
Custody Navigator Scheme
The Custody Navigator Scheme aims to work primarily with young people – especially those aged 10 to 25 – once they have entered the criminal justice system.
It will add a ‘tertiary1’ intervention to Cleveland’s Youth Justice Services (YJS) suite of interventions. It will compliment youth justice ‘Turnaround’ intervention, which aims to ‘achieve positive outcomes for children, aged 10 to 18, with the ultimate aim of preventing them from going on to offend’.
CURV is approaching the end of its first year of delivery and Cleveland is experiencing some of the highest rates of police-recorded knife crime and hospital admissions for sharp object assault.
As a result, there is an urgency associated with the need to implement tried and tested, Home Office-approved interventions. They will seek to stem the continued rise in knife crime and admissions.
In the longer term, activities will contribute to their reduction as part of a wider suite of interventions developed through CURV.
Time Critical Mobilisation
The Custody Navigator Scheme is therefore a time critical priority, with the need to run the pilot for the duration of CURV’s initial three-year funding.
That’s to ensure there is a robust evaluation framework, which can sufficiently justify long-term funding of a contracted service beyond this period by partners.
Cleveland’s three YJS services are able to mobilise at pace and establish the scheme in the current budget year.
As a result, that will capitalise on already established partnerships to ensure the service immediately delivers against the scope of practice and can work closely with CURV to ensure robust evaluation that will help shape the future commissioning intentions.
At a local level, preventing, reducing, and tackling serious violence is a key priority in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan.
Performance against funding agreements will be monitored and evaluated by CURV and its contracted evaluation partner. The Home Office will carry out enhanced evaluation.
In addition, the Home Office has also chosen the Custody Navigator Scheme as one of its national ‘enhanced evaluation’ pilots.
1 Young people who are already involved with the justice system