Violence Reduction Unit

The North Somerset Violence Reduction Unit is a co-ordinated partnership approach aimed at reducing incidents of serious and violent crime across the Local Authority Area through early intervention, diversion and organised activity across North Somerset. It comprises of two VRU Co-ordinators, VRU Sergeant and 3 VRU School’s Engagement PCSOs as allocated staff but requires buy in from the wider departments and partners to deliver meaningful interventions.

The North Somerset VRU is not here to duplicate services or support, it is aimed at providing additional capability to divert young people on the periphery of violence away from that risk (either as a victim or offender) and to manage risk of serious violence in the community. It does this through 5 VRU Programmes of work:

  • Risk Programme – identifying (through data, predictive analytics and professional referral) those on the periphery of crime and anti-social behaviour to address risk and divert from crime using both agency and community resources
  • Sibling risk programme – to work with siblings/children of violent crime offenders being handled by professional services to provide diversion and opportunities to steer away from violence using agency and community resources
  • Interventions Programme – funding for VRU specific approaches and interventions to divert young people from risk of violence and crime
  • Education/Schools Programme – inputs/sessions to schools and establishments supporting young people to raise awareness, identify risks and build relationships with those at risk of serious violence. Includes ongoing relationship building with Safeguarding Leads and Pastoral Care.
  • Community Programme – Funded and Agency approaches to build community capacity, confidence and enforce against those people and places causing risk of violence in the community

Interventions:

  • Young person mentoring with Jack Hazeldine Foundation.
  • A pilot project with to Our Way Our Say to deliver boxing sessions to young people. Success of the project led to continuation until March 2021.
  • Tender – Healthy Relationships work in schools using the arts to educate children and young people to explore healthy relationships.
  • ‘Dragon’s Den’ style project in Weston-super-Mare and Worle to look at any meaningful intervention provision to divert and educate young people away from violence and support other priority areas.
  • Choices and Consequences course in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police – a session exploring young people’s life choices and decisions providing a more informed approach to their future.
  • Intensive engagement with a focus on two specific LSOAs in North Somerset.
  • St Giles peer mentoring support for up to 14 young people believed to be at high risk
  • COACH Community Mentoring with Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) – supporting families with a child under 12 or young people aged 13-17. Launching in January 2021.

Future interventions:

  • Youth and community engagement around violent crime
  • Young person and Domestic Abuse navigator in collaboration with Start to Finish.
  • Re-launch of Best Bar None scheme in the Weston Evening and Night Time Economy. Proposal to be a pilot site for the newly revised scheme including new assessment criteria.
  • Domestic Abuse perpetrator program
  • Creating an online hub for young people and practitioners working around our priority areas – out to tender

North Somerset Violence Reduction Unit:

  • Clair Sandilands – VRU Co-ordinator
  • Michelle Kellaway Bianco – VRU Co-ordinator
  • PS Lee Kerslake – VRU Sgt
  • PCSO Sophie Young – School’s engagement PCSO
  • PCSO Clare Merchant – School’s engagement PCSO
  • PCSO Kemo Jarju – School’s engagement PCSO

If you are a local community group that would like to get involved; a young person looking to reach out; are concerned about a young person being affected by serious violence; or would like to get in touch with the North Somerset VRU please email us.