Merseyside to harness power of healthcare to help prevent serious violence

NHS Violence Prevention Conference

More than 120 health professionals from across Merseyside and Cheshire will unite today (Monday 13th May) for a major conference focused on harnessing the power of healthcare to help prevent serious violence.

The Violence Prevention conference being held by the Cheshire and Mersey Major Trauma Network will bring healthcare leaders, doctors, and nurses together with the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership, Police and Crime Commissioner, Merseyside Police, and other community safety partners to discuss how they can work even closer together to prevent and reduce serious violence.

The sector-wide conference aims to give healthcare professionals a greater understanding of the root causes of serious violence and the partnership work already underway to address these triggers, with a focus on highlighting the unique and significant position healthcare can play in prevention.

Attendees at the event, held at the Museum of Liverpool, will hear from regional and national leaders in the field, including the clinical leads for violence prevention from both NHS England, Martin Griffiths, and Michael Carver from NHS London.

Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Serena Kennedy, and the Director of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (MVRP) Georgie Garvey are also among the speakers.

The event will also showcase some of the most impactful initiatives already underway in the region supported by healthcare to intervene to protect young people and families, including the Navigators scheme which sees trained youth workers embedded in the region’s hospital to engage with young people following a violent incident.

NHS Violence Prevention Conference

The event, which is being held in collaboration with the MVRP and LJMU’s Public Health Institute, is being spearheaded by Nikhil Misra, a General and Trauma Surgeon from the Major Trauma Centre at Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool, and Clinical Director of the Emergency Surgery and Trauma Unit at the hospital. He said: “As healthcare professionals, we are in a unique and critical position not only to treat the injuries sustained from serious violence, but also to help prevent people coming through the doors of our region’s hospitals in the first place.

“The earlier we start thinking about violence prevention, the better. That means thinking how we can intervene in a positive way right through the healthcare system – from community professionals who are visiting people in their homes, right through to A&E departments. Through schemes such as Navigators and Knifesavers, we’re already showing the difference, healthcare initiatives can make.

“This conference is focused on how we can expand and develop these initiatives, with the goal of creating a regional violence prevention clinical network which is focused on embedding this work across all healthcare settings.”

PCC Emily Spurrell at the NHS Violence Prevention Conference

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Our region has come a long way in reducing and preventing serious violence in recent years. Gun crime, knife crime and all serious violence offences have decreased significantly.

“This is hugely welcome, but there is still more we can all do.

“This conference is yet another example of our determination to work with partners from every sector to really understand what more can be done to prevent and tackle serious violence and the harm it causes.

“There’s no doubt, health can play a pivotal role in this work. It’s great to see the enthusiasm and commitment from so many professionals today to find out how they can support the work to get upstream, intervene early, and stop violence from happening in the first place.

“By working together, I firmly believe we can continue to build a safer, stronger Merseyside, free from violence and the fear of violence.”

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “Merseyside Police is committed to preventing serious violence to reduce the devastating impact it has on individuals, families, and the wider community.

“In the last year alone, there has been 263 fewer victims of serious violence on the streets of Merseyside and we have also seen knife crime decrease by 18.6%, despite rises nationally.

“Our officers are committed to keeping people safe on our streets. Through targeted uniformed patrols, the execution of warrants, stop searches and land searches, we are making a real difference. This is supported by our ongoing work with partners on prevention initiatives which address the root causes of crime and violence in our communities.

“Last week, we held a football tournament where 90 young people came together to learn about the dangers of knife crime – events like this play an important part of prevention and help keep young people away from crime.

“Today’s conference will help to strengthen relationships between partners and harness the force of Merseyside to tackle serious violence collectively.”

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy at the NHS Violence Prevention Conference

MVRP’s Director Superintendent Georgie Garvey said: “At the MVRP we know violence isn’t inevitable – it’s preventable.

“We’re determined to work with organisations from every sector to identify opportunities to intervene early, delivering programmes that are proven to reduce violence in our communities and protect future generations.

“Today’s event is a fantastic example of the shared commitment to understanding the causes of violence and how by working together, with our communities, we can build a safer, healthier region for everyone.”

What is the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership?

In total, 20 Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) have been established across England and Wales to help deliver the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy to tackle knife and gun crime and homicide.

Police and Crime Commissioners lead on commissioning these multi-agency units in their areas, bringing together strategic partners to deliver system-wide interventions to prevent and reduce crime.

In Merseyside, we renamed our unit to the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) because we believe the word ‘partnership’ reflects the way we work and approach this challenge.

The VRP brings together Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, local government, National Probation Service, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the county’s Youth Offending Service, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key partners, all with the aim of reducing and preventing serious violence.

Find out more at the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership website.