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Planning in place to reduce and prevent serious violence and criminal exploitation in Newcastle

26th September 2019

Key stakeholders in Newcastle will come together on Thursday to shape an action plan aimed at reducing and preventing instances of criminal exploitation and serious violence in the city.

Approximately 150 representatives from Northumbria Police, Newcastle City Council and other agencies will gather at the Discovery Museum to assess the root causes of criminal exploitation and serious violence and look at where interventions can be made to protect vulnerable residents.

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness and Newcastle City Council’s director of public health Eugene Milne will be among those speaking in favour of a public health approach to tackling the issues. National experts will also be addressing attendees to share their experiences of the issues.

The need for a Newcastle-specific action plan was agreed earlier this year following discussions between the Safe Newcastle board; the Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board; Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board; and the Youth Offending Team.

Together, they hope to develop and implement an action plan focused on the themes of: understanding the problem; prevention, early engagement and diversion; education, awareness and training; safeguarding vulnerable people; and disruption of criminal activity.

Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, chair of Safe Newcastle and Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for communities and climate change, said: “Criminal groups will always look to exploit the most vulnerable people in society for their own gain and to have the best chance of preventing this it is important we share our expertise and work together.

“In Newcastle we don’t have the levels of serious violence and exploitation seen in other cities, but we cannot afford to be complacent and we will always look at ways of improving outcomes for people in our city.

“It will be invaluable to share experiences and best practices with our partners in the city to find a way we can all work together to improve the safety of people living and working in Newcastle.”

Kim McGuinness, Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Everyone at this conference will know that violent crime is a far more complex problem than the stereotypical image of a young male picking up a knife and lashing out, and so our response to violent crime cannot simply be a 999 call and a prison cell. Violence is not inevitable, it is in large parts predictable and we can prevent it. I’m setting up a Violence Reduction Unit to help co-ordinate our efforts and make a long-term difference here in Newcastle and throughout the whole of Northumbria. I want to work with others to ensure we can turn around lives and actually prevent people taking part in violent crime not pick up the pieces afterwards.”