Birmingham has been allocated over £1.2 million in government grants as one of 29 areas in the country to tackle gang and youth violence, following the publication in 2011 of the cross-government post riots report ‘Ending Gang and Youth Violence’
The allocation, which is the biggest compared to the other areas funded, is based on the city’s population of young people and is not a reflection of the level of gang and youth violence in the city.
The national programme focuses on 10 to 19-year-olds however, in Birmingham; this has been extended to 29-year-olds as a result of analytical work that has been undertaken, showing a peak in the early/mid twenties.
Birmingham Community Safety Partnership is leading on delivering this programme working with voluntary and community representatives to commission a wide range of services through partnership working with voluntary and community sector organisations across the city. All the activities and projects to be commissioned will be advertised on finditinbirmingham.com (the website used by Birmingham City Council to advertise all its contracts).
The grant will be used to extend help and support to those communities most affected by gang and youth violence and contains a strong preventative element. Activity to be delivered includes projects that address the issue of young women involved or at the cusp of being involved in gang activity through peer support and theatre workshops.
Other themes in the programme include:
- Strengthening the Multi-Agency Gang Unit team to deal more effectively with key individuals. This will enable Probation, Youth Offending Service and specialist Social Workers to work alongside Police Officers to jointly tackle the most difficult cases in Birmingham.
- Further development of the early intervention programmes in schools including a specific project that focus on looked after children.
- Providing additional support to young people and adults who are not in education, employment or training to prevent them becoming involved, or further involved, in gang activity.
- Involving community representatives and volunteers such as street pastors in engaging with young people on public transport or out late at night.
- Developing Legal Toolkits and training to help Housing, Community Safety, Probation and Police Officers make the best use of civil and criminal interventions.
- Working closely with a wide range of local communities where young people are most at risk of gang or other youth violence to explain how they can get support for young people at risk and also report criminal activity they are concerned about anonymously.
The city is already seeing a significant reduction in Most Serious Violence offences committed against 10 to 29-year-olds in Birmingham. There were 637 crimes last year (April 2011 to March 2012), compared to 790 the previous year, a fall of 19 per cent. However with the additional Home Office funding the Community Safety Partnership is confident it can make longer and more sustained reductions in crime and prevent more young people from becoming victims of violence.
The Home Office will be measuring Birmingham’s performance through the level of hospital admissions for serious violent injuries and police records of Most Serious Violence (10 to 19-year-olds).
Cllr James McKay, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said: “The city welcomes this funding and the opportunity it brings to work with the Home Office on this crucial area of work.
“Even though recorded crime is falling, communities are still worried about the gang and youth violence that takes place in some parts of Birmingham and want to know what local agencies are doing to tackle these issues.
“The Partnership will endeavour to ensure that communities are kept informed of the development of this activity through a series of road shows and other community events which will be delivered across the city.”
1. Please contact Natasha Bhandal, Public Reassurance & Communications Manager on 0121 303 8727. or Kris Kowalewski, Senior Media Officer on 0121 303 3621.
2. Birmingham Community Safety Partnership is a joint partnership between Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service and other agencies that work together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour that affects our communities.