18 June 2019

Testing the effectiveness of initiatives to reduce serious violence and vulnerability

The Vulnerability and Violent Crime Programme was launched by the College and the National Police Chiefs' Council last year to create new evidence about the effectiveness of policing initiatives in reducing vulnerability and serious violence.

The Vulnerability and Violent Crime Programme (VVCP) is funded through the Police Transformation Fund until March 2020 and will build the evidence base by supporting the independent evaluation of eight promising initiatives aimed at tackling vulnerability and serious violence. The completed evaluations will help fill gaps in the current evidence base and encourage learning from new practice across policing.

To identify the most suitable initiatives for evaluation, police forces in England and Wales were invited to share examples with the programme through an open 'call for practice'. The team received details of over a hundred and thirty initiatives across a wide range of areas including child sexual abuse and exploitation, domestic abuse, gangs, county lines, and knife crime. Many initiatives highlighted innovations or adaptations of existing approaches to address vulnerability-related policing problems.

Practice examples were considered by national vulnerability leads and the VVCP board, with eight of the most promising initiatives being selected for independent evaluation. The key areas that will be explored through the evaluation will be:

  • How the intervention was designed and implemented
  • What conditions are needed to enable the intervention to operate effectively
  • The cost effectiveness of the intervention
  • The overall impact on crime and other relevant outcomes
  • Whether the intervention could be applied to other areas or other crime types

The interventions being evaluated are:


​A custody programme to divert 18-25 year olds from crime into employment and training

Operation Divan / Operation Met Divan

​An early intervention programme to divert young people away from carrying knives and weapons

Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV)

​A targeted approach, where gang members are offered a choice to engage with support services or face increased enforcement activities.

Think Family Early Intervention (TFEI) scheme

Employing a multi-agency approach to identify and provide support for families. The focus is on targeting low level problems before they become severe and high risk.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trusted Adult Workers (TAWs)

Focusing on young people who have experienced adverse childhood experiences and may need support to deal with the trauma.

Joint approach to neglect

Joint family visits by police and child services to reduce repeat child neglect and common assault offences​.

Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA v3)/ Stalking Assessment and Management tool(SAM)

A three force pilot looking at the application of police risk assessment and management tools for serial and repeat perpetrators of domestic abuse and stalking.

High Harm Perpetrator Unit (HHPU)

​Using a new approach to proactively identify and manage potential high harm perpetrators.

Full details are provided on the College What Works Website and the Policing and Crime Reduction Research Map.

We are keen to hear about other work taking place across the service to support continued sharing of new and emerging practice between forces. If you have any further practice examples to share in relation to vulnerability and violent crime in your force area please contact us at vulnerabilityprogramme@college.pnn.police.uk.

Additional vulnerability and violent crime projects
Across the programme there are several other projects and activities taking place that will contribute to the overall evidence base for vulnerability and violent crime. Many of these projects focus on direct engagement with forces and partners in order to obtain an understanding of current practice, identification of gaps and exploration of opportunities for sharing knowledge and learning. You can read about the additional vulnerability and violent crime projects here.