Violence Reduction Unit Logo Wide.jpg

The Kent and Medway Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is a partnership between the police, local councils, health service providers and other key agencies to deliver a reduction in violence the county.

It was created in 2019 after the PCC was awarded £1,160,000 from the Home Office. The Government then announced Kent would receive a further £1,160,000 to fund the VRU in 2020/21.

The PCC said: 'Issues around violent crime can not be resolved by Kent Police simply arresting more people. The police and partner agencies need to work together to help lift vulnerable young people out of a life of crime.’

Funding in 2019/20 supported 23 local projects which in turn engaged with around 600 people. They received extra support to help them change their lifestyle from a number of agencies focused on sport, or practical skills like catering or building. Emotional and wellbeing support was also provided.

Other initiatives include a welcome pack for Londoners moving to Maidstone designed to signpost families to support and recognise potential risk factors; and peer-led training in understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). These were the winning concepts from a Serious Youth Violence Hackathon event where partners pitched ideas to a board of young people and VRU senior managers.

Money was also used to purchase more than 500 emergency trauma packs (ETPs), which have been distributed across the county.

The VRU's partners have agreed that funding in 2020/21 should be focused on the following areas:

  • Work in prisons to reduce re-offending;
  • Workshops in schools to engage with young people;
  • Community interventions to help prevent serious youth violence;
  • Work in custody to support under-25s implicated in violent crime;
  • Health-based solutions.

Latest news

Pupils across Kent take part in anti-knife crime competition


Almost 100 pieces of artwork have been submitted by school children from across Kent as part of a competition to promote anti-knife crime messages.

Entries have included images and poems encouraging young people not to carry weapons, and which also illustrate the impact of knives on victims and their families.

The competition, for children in year groups 7 to 13, was held by The Kent and Medway Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), a partnership between police, local councils, and other key stakeholders.

Entries on public display

Detective Chief Inspector Ben Loose, director of the VRU said: ‘Whilst levels of knife crime in Kent remain relatively low compared to other parts of the country, educating young people about the devastating impact it can have on victims and their families continues to be an important part in keeping our communities safe. ‘We are absolutely delighted by the number of schools and young people who have embraced this competition and who have worked so hard to create some truly impressive entries. The children have clearly risen to the challenge and our hope, once Covid restrictions allow, is that in the coming months we will be able to display these fantastic pieces of work at public places throughout the county.’

Submissions, which also contained anti-knife crime slogans, were overseen by judges including Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott and a representative from Stagecoach, which plans to display some of the artwork and messages on one of its buses.

A first prize of £100 in online shopping vouchers was awarded to Angelina Terry, a year ten pupil who attends the John Wallis Church of England Academy, Ashford.

Cornfields School, also in Ashford, received a collective prize of £750 in vouchers for an ‘Inspirational Piece’ (image below) in the form of an angel, with messages contained in a poem illustrating the stark impact of knife crime on families.

It will now be made into a sculpture from knives handed in to police or seized from criminals.

Exceptional quality

Pupils at other schools, in areas including Cranbrook, Chatham, Folkestone and Canterbury were also awarded prizes, and the High Sheriff of Kent nominated entries from students for a National Crimebeat Award.

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott added: ‘Many congratulations to everyone who took part; the standard of entries was very high and there were a number of exceptional pieces that were really impressive. 'I hope that the winning pieces will help raise awareness and help us to further reduce knife crime in Kent.’



VRU E-Newsletters



VRU E-Newsletters

VRU funded services and contact information


Service Provided

Age group

Area covered


Coordinator Contact

Olympia Boxing

Work with disadvantaged communities and schools, to reduce ASB and serious crime whilst improving physical and mental health.

Under 18’s



Chatham Shepway


Tonbridge and Malling

Box It Out (formerly Kent Gloves)

Sport has been shown to be a successful and cost-effective way of tackling youth crime and gang violence as well as have a positive impact on physical and mental health.


Gillingham, Medway


Street Soccer Foundation

Targeted support to young people at risk of serious violence by providing diversionary and mentoring activities based around football




The Shed

The Shed are an open access project which delivers face to face support either through project open sessions or one to one contact




Youth Resilience

Supporting and developing resilience building in young people. They specialise in delivery around youth violence and gang crime




Switch Cafe

Mentoring programmes to help educate young people on the effects and consequences of drug misuse, anger management and gang culture and how they can help themselves.




Sport on your doorstep/ Sittingbourne Street Games

Creating positive change in the lives of disadvantaged young people across Swale.

Under 18’s



Brogdale CIC

Brogdale provide an alternative curriculum provision for young people who are either NEET or at risk of NEET

Under 18’s

Swale and Ashford

Changing Minds CIC

Supporting young people with their mental health




Equip them with skills that will enable them to enter employment or training. Focus on BAME clients.


North Kent


Young Lives Foundation

Support young people with ACE backgrounds. Young people who are considered to be at risk of offending, socially excluded or in need of support can be referred for a YLF Mentor

Under 18’s

Thanet, Swale, Tonbridge and Malling and Gravesham


Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Safety Partnership

Education programme to support young people with ACE backgrounds

Under 18s

Tonbridge and Malling


ACE Angel Lane CIC "ACE informed Housing"

ACE Angel Lane CIC project is a partnership with Sanctuary Group and Kent Housing to help reduce serious violence in the area, by educating and working together


25 and under

Tonbridge and West Malling


Dover CSP & CSU & Beechange "ACE Family Support"

1-1 family support for families with children aged between 0-16, to provide access to a professional counselling service


Aysesham and Dover



The ACE Ambassador Scheme was developed to support the prevention of ACEs and aimed to reduce the impact of ACEs by working to build awareness of trauma informed practice and building resilience within families, schools, communities and services.

Under 18’s


Music Klub

Support and engagement with young people at risk of re-offending



Pie Factory

Support and engagement with young people at risk of offending



The Mary Dolly Foundation

Support to young people provided by qualified and experienced practitioners




Breaking the Cycle

Direct support to vulnerable, minority and/or hard to reach young people to prevent/reduce victimisation as well as violent crime and anti-social behaviour linked to gangs and illegal drug markets



Mid-Kent MIND

Mind the Knife project raising knife crime awareness to help reduce gang recruitment and violence

Under 18’s

Swale and Thanet

Sheppey Matters

Mentoring support and practical skills development

Up to 18yrs

Isle of Sheppey

Safer Communities Alliance

Mentoring and life skills for those at risk of being involved in serious youth violence


North Kent


Trinity Fencing CIC

Employs disadvantaged young people. Supporting young ex-offenders, those at risk of re-offending; and those with learning challenges and disabilities, (aged 18-25)



Step Up Mentoring- YLF

Provide support for young people aged 16-21 as they leave the care system


Maidstone Medway Swale



Forward Trust

Delivering a Violence reduction programme in HMP Elmley and HMP Rochester for 18 – 25-year olds who have been convicted of County lines, Knife crime or other violent offences.


Rochester Elmley

Archbishops School

Extending the current offers in school to reach vulnerable students by promoting an equality of opportunity, bridge the deprivation gap, and provide equal access to an enriching broad programme of clubs/after-school activities and services.



Nurture UK

13 schools identified, early intervention programme to support young people build resilience by providing equal opportunities to education




St. Giles Trust

Enhanced support for young people involved in serious violence. Custody project to support young people that find themselves in custody following offences relating to county lines and child exploitation.




Dover CSP- Dover Smart and Target Engagement project

Provide awareness to young people regarding relevant issues around gangs, crime, CSE, trafficking etc. Support young people to be more aware of services available to report and seek help.




Primal Roots

Primal Roots uses the natural environment as an alternative gym to support people with complex needs, including young adults, ex-offenders and people living with mental health issues.




Kenward Trust

Work spans from sessions in schools delivering early education and interventions, through to residential rehabilitation and providing support to those resettling back into the community.




Updated 4 December 2020

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