New custody project in Nottinghamshire turns vulnerable youngsters away from gang life and violence

A new scheme is helping young people in custody break free from gang life and violence in Nottinghamshire.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 12:36 pm

The mentor scheme is turning young people away from a life of gang violence and crime to help make Mansfield and Nottingham streets safer.

Launched in Nottinghamshire, the project is helping 16-26 year-olds in custody and others.

The county's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has funded the ‘U Turn' custody intervention scheme for 21 months. The Inspire & Achieve Foundation charity project will see two full-time mentors operating from Mansfield and Nottingham’s Bridewell, custody suites.

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L-R Matt Hunt, Ian Salmon, Chief Constable Craig Guildford, PCC Paddy Tipping, Alex Peace-Gadsby, Jay Moore

The mentors establish rapport, trust, and provide advice and support and help encourage diversionary activities such as going to the gym, making friends or training.

Launched in January, the scheme supports 15 people including one gang member who went onto formal education within two weeks of the project’s intervention.

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, chair of the VRU's Board, visited Mansfield Police Station recently.

He said: "This project is still in its infancy but already we are seeing astonishing results with young people beginning to believe in themselves and their capabilities and considering what their life could look like without crime.

"The absence of positive role models plays such a huge factor in many of these young people's lives but it is never too late to intervene and help change the way they view the world and themselves.”

Pippa Carter, Director of The Inspire and Achieve Foundation said: "Our mentors understand the real barriers these young people face. Many of the young people have never had anybody believe in them or have faith in them before.”

The scheme is flexible, with no strict offence criteria for referral. Mentors will help anyone in the age range, not in education, employment or training and needs support.

The VRU brings together police, local government, health, community leaders and partners to prevent serious violence by understanding its root causes.

Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: "Breaking the cycle of violence can be extremely hard for young people, especially if they feel doors have been closed on them. It is a really worthwhile intervention that could prevent further violence on the streets.”