Teaming up with Charlton to tackle serious youth violence
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Staff from the Kent and Medway Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) have shared their expertise with colleagues at Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT).
VRU coordinator Jo Pattison and Kelly Rivett of Kent Police’s County Lines and Gangs Team paid a visit to the football club's training ground in New Eltham, south-east London, on Friday 14 January 2022.
Whilst there they reviewed an educational video being created by the club, which is planned to be shown in schools and other youth settings across Kent and Medway to raise awareness among young people of exploitation into gangs and county lines.
They also discussed ways in which Charlton could support the VRU’s efforts to prevent serious youth violence in Kent, such as running football coaching sessions across Kent.
CACT delivers a range of diversionary sports sessions as well as targeted mentoring in group and one-to-one settings, and has worked closely with the football club on crime reduction work since launching the Street Violence Ruins Lives campaign in 2008.
VRU director Detective Chief Inspector Ben Loose of Kent Police said:
‘Preventing crime is a responsibility shared by many different organisations and it is encouraging to see Charlton Athletic Community Trust playing such a valuable role in this. This community outreach work will engage young people and promote participation in sporting activities.
‘We at the VRU were happy to offer our support with their ongoing work and look forward to working closely with the club again in the future.’
The Violence Reduction Unit is a partnership between Kent Police, local councils, health service providers and other key agencies that aims to address the causes of violent crime and support those involved and affected by it.
Paul Robinson, CACT's Crime Reduction Manager, said:
'It was a pleasure to host the recent visit from the VRU, and we are looking forward to sharing the new video in a range of educational settings across various parts of Kent as well as in Greenwich and Bexley.
‘Strong partnerships with law enforcement have been a key part of our crime reduction work ever since it launched, and we are proud to continue to work closely with Kent Police.'