New scheme to help people find path out of violent crime in South Yorkshire

A scheme is being rolled out in South Yorkshire to help people find a path out of their lifestyles of violent crime.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 9:29 am
A scheme is being launched in South Yorkshire to approach people involved in violent crime as they are in custody or hospital and help them find a way out.

The two ‘Navigator Initiative’ schemes have been created to reach out to people while they are police custody or in A&E and support them in walking away from violent crime.

Now, the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit is holding a virtual event on Wednesday, October 20, to introduce the ‘Plan B Custody’ and ‘A&E’ Navigator Initiatives to employers, support groups and educational establishments that could help individuals involved in violence.

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The Plan B Custody Navigators work in custody suites based in Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster. They support individuals brought in to custody in relation to violent offences. Navigators work with people who may have issues in their life that can lead to them becoming entrenched in violent crime.

The A&E Navigators are based at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. They support individuals that attend the trauma unit with violence related injuries.

It is claimed that the period of hospitalisation after a violent or traumatic incident, where people may be considering lifestyle changes, is when they may be open to receiving support.

The work of all navigators aims to reduce violence across South Yorkshire by breaking offending cycles.

The event will provide more information on the initiatives and include speeches from Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and representatives from each of the initiatives.

Mr Billings, who is also chairman of the Violence Reduction Executive Board in South Yorkshire, said: “I am determined that we get on top of serious violence, including knife incidents, in South Yorkshire.

“We have a twofold approach. On the one hand the police will come down hard on individuals and gangs who resort to violence. On the other we will seek to prevent young people being drawn into violence and steer others away from violent lives. The Navigator projects are part of that.

“When men find themselves in hospital or a custody suite that can be a moment when they stop to think about the life they are living. We call this a teachable moment.

“Navigators meet them and will help them to do whatever is necessary to turn their lives around.

“I know this can work because I have met people whose lives have been changed at a similar project in Glasgow.

“Serious violence has blighted the lives of too many individuals and communities and we are determined to make a difference.”

The event is open to organisations and groups that can offer support on housing, finances, transport, substance misuse, diversionary activities that include boxing, football and other sports. We are also looking for employers and educational establishments that would like to get involved.

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “The aim of the event in to sign-up as many organisations as possible. We want to be able to signpost anyone involved in these initiatives to the relevant support that they need.

“By working in collaboration, we want to provide individuals caught up in violence, the opportunity to become financially secure, in appropriate accommodation to help them become healthy, educated and employable.”

The event, at 12 noon on October 20, can be booked online.