Bedfordshire's Violence and Exploitaiton Reduction Unit Just Drop It


Reducing Violence &
Exploitation, Together

In August 2019, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire (OPCC) was awarded funding by the Home Office to set up a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).

Since our launch 2020, the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) has been working with partner agencies to prevent and reduce violence and exploitation across Bedfordshire by taking a whole systems multi-agency approach to issue. Alongside our partners, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of the drivers of violence and exploitation and how it can be prevented.

VERU community lead attending a Dallow Cares event

Strategic Needs Assessment & Strategic Needs Response

Our aim is to reduce violence across Bedfordshire while tackling the exploitation of young and vulnerable people

In line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) model for violence prevention, the Home Office Grant Funding requires the VERU to produce a Strategic Needs Assessment (SNA), which identifies the drivers of serious violence in the local area and the types of people most affected.

The main aim of the SNA is to improve the health and wellbeing of a specific population and it is used to guide resource allocation and service planning. Using local data and intelligence to identify the current risk of serious violence is a key element of the public health approach to violence prevention. The localised data and insight provide a greater understanding of established and emerging serious violence trends, priority locations and other emerging issues.

The current VERU SNA was produced in March 2023. Understanding that some of the information in the document is deemed sensitive, a comprehensive executive summary has been made available.

The VERU is also responsible for developing a strategy in collaboration with partner agencies across Bedfordshire, including organisations within Children’s services, Adult’s services, Public Health, Youth Offending, Community Safety Partnerships, Local Safeguarding Boards and Education. The 2020-2025 strategy, published below, is not for the VERU alone, rather a strategy for all relevant partners across the county to adopt and work towards.

Strategic Needs Assessment

Strategic Needs Response

serious violence duty

ensuring services work together to share information, target interventions, collaborate and plan to prevent and reduce serious violence within their local communities

The Serious Violence Duty (SVD) was implemented in January 2023. 

The SVD, which is set in law (Chapter 1 Part 2 of the Police Crime Sentencing & Courts Act 2022), embeds a public health approach to violence prevention and requires specified authorities within a local government area to:

      1. Collaborate and plan to prevent and reduce serious violence, including domestic abuse.
      2. Agree Partnerships, to deliver the duty; In Bedfordshire, these will be the Serious Harm Partnership Board including as members the Bedfordshire Violence & Exploitation Reduction Unit and the three local authority Community Safety Partnerships (Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton).
      3. Publish a Strategic Needs Assessment & Serious Violence Strategy.
      4. First review of the Serious Violence Strategy (31/1/2025) and then annually.

The VERU SNA, rated as ‘mature’ by the Home Office’s SVD consultant (the highest possible rating), has been wholly adopted as the SVD SNA as recommended (see Recommendation 19 of SNA). Similarly, the VERU Strategy was also adopted as the SVD Strategy.

Our Impact

VERU in View

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