Dedicated youth workers to tackle knife crime in Notts

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New dedicated youth workers who will aim to dissuade young people from carrying knives will soon be taking to the streets, funded by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Working closely with Nottinghamshire Police, the workers will aim to use intelligence to target young people they believe may be at risk of becoming involved in knife crime.

It comes after a new violent reduction unit – aimed at taking a preventative approach to violent crime – is starting to see its first real successes.

There will be four full-time youth workers, as well as 31 three-hour staffed sessions at youth centres throughout the county.

A decision to fund the scheme was approved by the Conservative-led council back in May.

At a meeting at County Hall yesterday (October 7), it was decided it would be funded in part through public health reserves.

The council receives a ring-fenced funding pot from the government for public health – essentially preventative spending to stop health problems in the long run.

It said £165,000 for the latest project – expected to last two years initially – will come from unspent reserves from this ring-fenced pot.

It has been estimated the scheme will cost £330,000 over the next few years. It is not currently known whether it will extend beyond that date.

Labour councillor Mike Pringle, who represents Ollerton, said: “A report this morning said knife crime had increased by 62 percent in the last four years in Nottingham.

“So I think we need to be looking at something different to what we are doing if we’re going to tackle this.”

The council’s director of public health, Jonathan Gribbin, added: “I agree that something different needs doing, and I think that’s one of the reasons for the violence reduction unit.

“What’s described here will be an important element to that.”

The violence reduction unit has been funded by the government, is run by the county and city councils, as well as the police, and involves a huge range of organisations.

The pioneering project first trialled successfully in Glasgow a decade ago aims to take a preventative approach to knife crime, in part by looking at what is likely to increase the likelihood of people becoming involved in violent crime.

A council report on the social workers said the workers will: “target the most vulnerable and challenging young people with focused youth work programmes, which concentrate on their interests, which may include sports, music, and creative arts, taking them into a different environment and providing a bespoke learning experience”.

Kit Sandeman , Local Democracy Reporting Service