Serious Violence Board launches milestone strategy
Staffordshire Commissioner Matthew Ellis, on behalf of partners, today launches a multi-agency strategy committed to tackling serious violence and its root causes and changing lives across the county and Stoke-on-Trent for the better.
As Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Mr Ellis initiated the Serious Violence Board, which brought partners together from different sectors, with a common goal of ending the scourge of serious violence and the dramatic effects it can have on lives for generations.
And today that board marks a major milestone as statutory, voluntary and community organisations have signed up to a strategy and concordat committing to work together and pledging their support and resources to deliver real action and change.
The board is committed to stopping serious violence before it begins and by treating the issue as a public health problem aims to achieve sustainable reduction in serious violence while improving the health and quality of life of all people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
Mr Ellis said: ‘We are in very difficult and unusual times currently, but this does not change the need to tackle long-term issues like serious violence which eat away at society and can undermine the way all of us live for generation after generation.
‘There has to come a time when we say no, enough is enough and we commit to real change, which is exactly what this strategy and concordat aims to do. It’s an achievement in itself getting everyone to commit to working together to a common goal to change the fortune of some of the most excluded in our county and improve lives.
‘With this in mind, we are determined to end the misery serious violence can cause individuals, families and communities. We will prevent serious violence from occurring, intervening early to prevent it damaging lives forever.
‘I’m very grateful for all partners for the work done to date and for the commitment to the very important to come in tackling root causes, while providing people with the skills and attributes to help them lead productive lives free from violence. Only with this joint effort can we prevent the loss of life and physical and psychological damage that serious violence can cause.
‘Covid-19 has and will bring its own challenges and that’s why this strategy and the joint will of all key partners and organisations is even more important to bring about real and lasting change’.
Chief Constable for Staffordshire Police, Gareth Morgan said: ‘As lockdown measures continue to ease, we are determined to bear down on crime and do all we can to try and prevent it rising to pre-lockdown highs. Violent crime continues to be a priority for us and all too often police see the effects of violence on individuals and communities.
‘While policing has a key role in reducing violence, we cannot do it alone. That is why I welcome this strategy and concordat which commits partners to working together even more closely to deliver real action and change with a greater focus on prevention to stop harm happening.
Philip Atkins, Leader at Staffordshire County Council said: ‘We know that the scourge of serious violence can have a major impact on people’s lives and our local communities and tackling the issue remains a key priority for the county council.
‘By working together with our partners, sharing resources and information and tackling the root cause of the issue we can improve the quality of life and health for everyone in Staffordshire.’
Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: ‘Stoke-on-Trent City Council is 100 per cent committed to tackling the causes of serious violence. We’re keen to work alongside partners as part of this initiative in tackling serious violence for both now and for the longer-term.
‘Violence is unacceptable and preventable, and working in collaboration we know we can deliver an impact. We’re pleased to be part of this positive initiative – it will make a difference to people’s lives in Stoke-on-Trent and continue to reinforce that our city is a great one to live, work and visit.’
While the pandemic has slowed the pace of some of the work and presented some new challenges, important steps have already been made:
· The Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office has advertised a post to lead the strategy implementation on behalf of all partners
· A needs assessment has been completed identifying those more vulnerable to serious violence
· A project, being delivered by Catch 22, has started to provide support to those identified as being more vulnerable to serious violence, the focus being on early help to prevent an escalation of issues
· A post has been advertised to support education establishments in delivering related awareness messages