September 1, 2022. News

Violence Reduction Unit showcases new hotspot policing app to Prime Minister and Home Secretary

On a visit to the Thames Valley yesterday (31 August), the Prime Minster Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel were given a demonstration of new technology developed by the Violence Reduction Unit to support policing of violence hotspots.

The ministerial visit to Milton Keynes was an opportunity to learn more about the efforts being taken to tackle violent offenders, particularly those involved in knife crime.

New advances in analytical approaches help the police to understand where serious violence is occurring, when it takes place, and who is involved. The VRU’s Serious Violence Dashboard and new mapping approaches allow for a focus upon those “hot people” who pose a risk, and those “hot places” where policing and wider problem-solving approaches by a range of partners are required to create safer communities.

Owen Miller, VRU Lead Analyst demonstrates the Serious Violence Dashboard

Maralyn Smith, CEO of the Milton Keynes Dons Sports & Education Trust also joined the visit, presenting on the work of the Trust in delivering sporting camps which provide positive diversion for young people and their work funded by the VRU to deliver a Custody Coach role, helping mentor young people who pass through police custody.

Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Mayling, who leads the VRU’s Data & Targeting workstream, represented the VRU on the visit, and said afterwards:

“We’re recognised as one of the leading Violence Reduction Units in the country, with a close partnership with Thames Valley Police and other local agencies.

“Today’s visit was an opportunity to discuss our investment into early intervention and diversion programmes which seek to prevent young people from being drawn into crime in the first place. We showcased new technology developed to help us target police and partnership activity together with a new mobile phone app which tasks officers to violence hotspots, prioritising our resources to what we call “hot places” and targeting “hot people”; those who continue to engage in violence and knife crime.

“These are approaches we apply across the whole Thames Valley region as we seek to tackle violence and its root causes, helping to build safer communities.”

Officers demonstrated the new Hotspot Policing mobile app to the Prime Minister