In April 2022, Cleveland’s OPCC was notified of its successful application for Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) Funding from the Home Office over three years.
This resulted in the ‘Cleveland Unit for the Reduction of Violence’ (CURV.)
CURV’s role is to bring together partners and stakeholders to develop and deliver an intelligence-led strategy aimed at reducing serious violence throughout Cleveland through a Public Health agenda.
In August 2022, the OPCC launched a £500,000 funding opportunity for interventions to support the reduction of violent crime.
The Night Time Economy
As part of this funding stream, Hartlepool Borough Council secured £30,585 to support the delivery of a crime prevention plan. It focussed on the Night Time Economy (NTE).
Following Hartlepool Borough Council’s success, the Borough Councils of Redcar & Cleveland, Stockton and Middlesbrough were invited to review their NTE crime prevention plans.
CURV asked all three boroughs to submit applications for funding
The Middlesbrough Bid
Middlesbrough Borough Council submitted an application for £57,109.00 to support its NTE Crime Prevention Plan.
The Middlesbrough bid has nine strands of activity. They included the following:
NTE Safety Campaign
The campaign is planned around the Ask for Angela initiative. Funding will help to improve awareness and increase safety through the provision of glass/bottle covers and spiking test strips, hand metal detectors and bleed control kits, and ‘Challenge 25’ Campaign.
Boro Angels is an independent voluntary organisation and registered charity. It provides volunteers in Middlesbrough town centre during the weekend. Staff work closely with CCTV operatives, door staff and emergency services to assist members of the public who may need assistance during the early hours of the morning. Funding will support an uplift in this capability.
The aim is to build sustainability into maintaining NTE/DTE infrastructure by developing an e-learning platform. It will deliver training around alcohol-related issues in the NTE/DTE. Issues include domestic abuse campaigns i.e. Ask Angela, vulnerability training, mandatory licensing legislation to reduce offending and conflict management etc. The platform will support people, who work unsocial hours including workers in the licensing trade, SIA registered staff, Safe Haven staff and charities. Training will be tailored to suit the needs of the audience. It can include mandatory training and/or a catalogue of tailored subjects. A training coordinator will initiate it.
Multi-Agency Street Audit
Out of hours staff will complete a multi-agency street audit. It will collate data about people, who cause harassment, alarm and distress to members of the public. Activities to be included will be Crime/ASB, street drinking, begging, loitering, targeting of vulnerable females/males, prostitution, supply of drugs etc. This will help to identify individuals engaging in such activity. It will also identify hotspot areas. It will enable more targeted approaches/interventions to take place. In addition, the audit will provide data about individuals part in such activity. That will assist with signposting that may help towards alternative lifestyle approaches being made which in turn may assist with a reduction in such activity taking place.
Middlesbrough CCTV Control Room
Funding to support an uplift in CCTV staff during peak times.
Drug/alcohol and violence-specific literature will be available in police custody suites. It will highlight the links between substance use and violent behaviour. Information will light interventions, statistics and support available in each local area for substance use, anger management etc.
Teesside University student safety equipment.
The Student Safety and Welfare Department of Teesside University will issue various items of equipment to students. They will include testing strips, drinks covers, drink spikey’s, personal attack alarms, D locks for bikes, Door handle alarms, window alarms and small torches for students to attach to keys.
Violence Prevention Measures.
Funding to support additional activities in NTE areas other than those directly affected by crime, to ensure they can assist the Police in the event of crime being diverted by the crime prevention plan, such as issue of ‘knife wands’ for the prevention of crime and serious violence at each of the 55 licensed premises within Middlesbrough who will be issued with at least 2 knife wands.
To assess the effectiveness of the campaign
The application of Middlesbrough Borough Council was assessed by CURV. This was to ensure its consistency with Hartlepool Borough Council’s application.
After a series of follow up questions were answered, the bid was approved for a four-month period from the 19 December 2022 to 31 March 2023.