New knife crime strategy launched in Leicester
Published on Friday, July 9, 2021
AN INNOVATIVE new knife crime strategy that has been designed by and for local communities is being launched in Leicester.
The Leicester Knife Crime and Serious Violence Strategy 2021-23 has been developed by the city council and partners including the office of the police and crime commissioner. Its development has been led and shaped by local communities, after a series of public ‘community conversations’ about knife crime.
The strategy sets out how the city council and partners will work to tackle knife crime locally, to help prevent and deter individuals and groups from committing acts of serious violence and carrying or using knives.
It also commits £250,000 of city council funding towards knife crime prevention work, with a further £200,000 to come from other sources, such as the police and crime commissioner’s office and the local Violence Reduction Network (VRN). The VRN is an alliance of organisations, groups and communities which co-ordinates the local response to serious violence.
The money will be used for peer mentoring programmes in the community and education initiatives to help prevent offending. It will also be used to fund a post for a community safety co-ordinator and to launch a pilot project aimed at engaging with people who are already involved in gangs, to help them change their lifestyle for the better.
Among the ambitions of the knife crime strategy are:
- To support young people with training and employment opportunities
- Ensuring young people have trusted sources of support to turn to when they need help
- Involving the community, listening to and learning from those with experience of knife crime
- Enhancing the feeling of safety in communities, for example by implementing a ‘People Zone’ in Highfields – bringing local organisations to together to improve things in the neighbourhood - as well as committing to offering greater affordable access to council and school community facilities across Leicester.
Assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods, Cllr Kirk Master, said: “We decided right from the start that we wanted to put community concerns, ideas and solutions at the heart of our plans for tackling knife crime and serious violence. With that in mind we created an innovative community-led, partnership steering group that designed and conducted a series of community conversations across city neighbourhoods to build relationships, share ideas and learn from residents across Leicester, including those who have had personal experience of knife crime.
“The resulting strategy takes into account what we learned from those conversations, and will focus on working with young people, creating safer neighbourhood spaces and increasing communication between local groups so that communities can fully engage with this ongoing problem and help us to tackle it.
“Reducing knife crime and serious violence is no easy task and our new strategy contains some very challenging recommendations. But we know that solutions and improvements will only be possible by working together with communities. I’m so pleased we have been able to do so to come up with this strategy, which will be flexible as it grows and adapts.
“Our work will be led by the communities and partners as we aim to implement our ambitions.”
To read the strategy in full, go to www.leicester.gov.uk/keystrategies
Picture shows Cllr Kirk Master (front, right) with community members and partners who helped to shape the plan. They are (from left) Dinehas Chauhan, Kellie Bugby, Aaron Gutteridge, Cheryl Armatrading, Maryan Anshur, and Bez Martin.