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Cleveland to appoint civilian to help tackle violent crime

Cleveland is bringing in a violent crime specialist to help its PCC reduce offending.

Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner is set to appoint a civilian to tackle violent offending that is among the worst in the country.

A specialist post in the PCC’s team has been created with a salary of up to £73,260-a-year to co-ordinate multi- agency work to deal with serious violence in the area.

Steve Turner is looking for someone to lead the design, development and implementation of a multi-year plan that will prevent and reduce serious violence.

It follows the Home Office’s decision to award the force £3.5m in funding specifically to reduce serious offending.

But the successful applicant to head up the Cleveland Unit for the Reduction of Violence (CURV) will face a huge task.

Despite having the third-smallest geographical area in England and Wales, Cleveland has the third highest violent crime rate in the country standing at 41.1 per 1,000 population compared to the national rate of 29.1.

It is the sixth-highest in the country for knife crime.

Behind the offending are high levels of deprivation, unemployment and health-related issues such as drug and alcohol dependency.

The new recruit will have to bring together health, education, Third Sector groups, councils and businesses as well as build new provision such as youth diversion activities.

Steve Turner said: “When we received the vital funding needed to establish Cleveland’s first violence reduction unit, we knew it was just the start of the journey. 

“We know reducing violent crime is not the responsibility of the police alone – we need cross-sector, whole-system change to reduce cycles of violent behaviour at their root cause. The Head of CURV will help put this plan into action.”

The Head of CURV will be based at Cleveland Police HQ and will work with the new Chief Constable Mark Webster who was only confirmed in February after a difficult search to replace Richard Lewis.

CC Webster has extensive experience of tackling violent crime - but he has made clear he needs to concentrate resources on "city-type crime" being driven by organised crime gangs.

PCC Turner said the role was being created to bring together disjointed services so that preventative work can be delivered - and confirmed the chief is "absolutely onboard" with the appointment.

The Chief and his team will deal with active offenders while the CURV lead will deliver the preventative work that will bring long-term reductions in offending.

Mr Turner said:  “We’re seeking an inspiring, innovative and engaging leader with a passion for making communities safer, who will work closely with the public, voluntary, private, and academic sectors to make positive changes."

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