group playing rugby - VPP
Ongoing Project

Violence Prevention Partnership

The Humber Violence Prevention Partnership (VPP) is one of 20 Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) across England and Wales. The VPP is committed to leading and coordinating the local response to Serious Violence.

Project summary

The Challenge

Serious Violence has increased drastically across England and Wales, especially knife crime-related offences and involving people under 25 years old.

The Approach

The Humber Violence Prevention Partnership was established to coordinate the local response to serious violence, using an evidence-based approach.

The Outcome

The University of Hull will provide the VPP with advice, evaluation based on their expertise in victimology, restorative justice,and community safety.

Lead academics

Funded by

Project partners

The Challenge

The Home Office's serious violence strategy defines serious violence as specific types of crime such as homicide, knife crime, and gun crime and areas of criminality where serious violence or its threat is inherent, such as in gangs and county lines drug dealing.

Those specific types of crime which are deemed serious violence showed an increase between 2015 and 2017 across all police force areas in England and Wales. Nearly all police forces have experienced an increase in knife crime offences including a growing trend in knife possession. These increases, especially in VRU areas and nationally, have been accompanied by a shift towards serious violence involving young people under the age of 25. An example of this increase is shown by the offences involving knives or sharp instruments increased by 84% between the year of June 2014 to June 2020. When looking at recorded crimes in Humberside, ‘violence against the person’ accounts for about 40% of those crimes.

Working on motorcycle

The full research team

The Approach

Due to the devastating increase in serious violence-related incidents, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 created the Serious Violence Duty, which requires specified authorities, to collaborate and plan to prevent and reduce serious violence.

Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) were created and funded by the Home Office (a total of £35 million) to bring together a multi-agency partnership responsible for leading and coordinating the local response to serious violence using an evidence-based public health approach (the public health approach acknowledges that to see a change in behaviour we must examine both the context and influences that impact individuals at significant points in their lives and thus it ensures that violence should not be seen as an isolated incident.) 18 VRUs were established in England and Wales in 2019/2020, building on work done previously in Scotland.

The Humberside police force area (East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North-East Lincolnshire, and North Lincolnshire) was invited to establish their own VRU which started in 2022. This is known as the Humber Violence Prevention Partnership. The Humber VPP will be awarded a total of £3.5 million to develop and operate the partnership over the next three years to identify the causes of violent crime and lead the local response to preventing and reducing violence through targeted interventions. The Humber VPP appointed the University of Hull as the evaluation partner. The evaluation team is made up of academics drawn from the School of Criminology, Sociology & Policing, School of Psychology and Social Work, and the Wilberforce Institute. The team is led by Prof. Simon Green and Dr Nicola O’Leary whose research expertise includes victimology, restorative justice, and community safety.

group photo with PCC

The Impact

Over an initial period of 3 years, the University will provide support to the Humber VPP to optimise its positive impact on serious violence in Humberside. Drawing on its combined expertise, the research team will offer project and programme-level evaluations, consultation on project design and strategic advice on the work of the VPP. Based on comparable research data in the UK and worldwide, the University will help shape and optimise the outcomes of the VPP for the young people in Humberside. To do this we will be working with Humberside Police, Hull Kingston Rovers, Hull FC and many other local organisations.

The Violence Reduction Units are going to be measured in levels of success (by the Home Office) based on these three overall goals:

  • A reduction in hospital admissions for assaults with a knife or sharp object, and especially among victims aged under 25.
  • A reduction in knife-enabled serious violence, and especially among victims aged under 25.
  • A reduction in all non-domestic homicides, and especially victims under 25 involving knives.

For more information visit:

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“This is the start of a long-term project to tackle and prevent violent crime in our communities. The partnership will seek to identify the root causes of violence and adopt an approach to understanding the factors which lead people to commit violence, whether in the home or the community, and work with them to address their behaviour. It is important that we work to prevent violence from occurring at all, so educational programmes will be developed to engage with young people to steer them away from committing violent crime in the first place.”

Jonathan Evison

Police and Crime Commissioner