The launch of our Youth Violence Intervention Unit

Tuesday, 12 March 2024 12:10

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The launch of our Youth Violence Intervention Unit 

A new unit working with young people in a bid to reduce violent crime has been set up by Northamptonshire Police.


The Youth Violence Intervention Unit (YVIU) is working with children aged from eight to 17-years-old, who have been identified as being at risk of becoming involved with violent crimes including assault, knife crime, robbery and sexual assault.

A new approach is being taken to identify children who may be at risk and offer different types of intervention to help support them and their families.

Detective Inspector Liam O’Neill is in charge of the unit. He said: “Tackling serious violence is a matter of priority for Northamptonshire Police, and as part of our work we’re taking a more holistic approach to the issue.

“Using our own data and that of partner agencies, we’ve looked at how we can target and influence children at risk of becoming involved in criminal activity.

“Our focus is on under 18s, as data analysis shows us this is where we see the biggest jump in offending and therefore provides us with the greatest opportunity to make a difference.

“Prevention is at the heart of what we are doing and providing intervention to those children deemed at risk of falling into criminality allows us to target the right people at the right time.”

The YVIU includes four teams:

  • A team of PCSOs will work with a group of children aged eight to 12, who have become involved in a serious violent offence, as well as those who show concern relating to knife crime, gangs, drug crime and violence


  • A team of specialist youth workers, ACE workers, funded by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, will work with 13 to 17-year-olds who want to work with professionals to make changes to their lifestyle, which is similar to what the CIRV team used to provide


  • A team of police officers will co-ordinate disruption plans for children aged 13-17 involved in serious violence and criminality who don’t want to engage with professionals, creating engagement opportunities through arrest and multi-agency working


  • Northamptonshire Police has seconded four police officers to work with the Youth Offending Service to work with children convicted at court where a referral order is given


DI O’Neill added: “Traditionally the police’s role has been to investigate crime and gather evidence to secure convictions. Whilst we will continue to do that, we strongly believe that serious violence is preventable and our new approach will help steer a generation of children away from offending behaviour, which will not only improve their potential to succeed but also reduce the number of victim’s.

“The YVIU is just one way in which we are supporting the work of The Northamptonshire Serious Violence Prevention Partnership, which includes schools, local authorities and community groups who are working together to tackle serious violence in the county.”

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “We need to do everything we can to stop young people being drawn into the criminal justice system, as victims or perpetrators of crime. Early intervention is at the heart of my Police, Fire and Crime Plan for Northamptonshire.

“This new Unit will reach out to young people in their formative years and support them to take a path away from crime and exploitation. That can have life changing impact that benefit not only that young person and their family, but the wider community.”


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