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Positive blueprint the way forward for communities to stand together against crime

22 March 2024

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) says it’s delighted that a community group in Southampton has been recognised for its engagement.

The VRU, which delivers partnership projects and interventions for under 25 year olds, joined forces with organisations across Millbrook to offer activities to local families and young people during Halloween last year in a bid to combat a rise in anti-social behaviour (ASB).

Millbrook Matters teamed up with the police, churches, Southampton City Council, the VRU and other local groups to host a range of activities across the estate.

Kathi Iason and Tracy Emm, from Millbrook Matters, were honoured for their dedication and commitment at this month’s High Sheriff of Hampshire Awards which recognised those supporting the criminal justice system and helping keep the county safe.

Kathi and Tracy say Millbrook is an example of what can be done to reduce violence and protect communities: “It’s a vibrant neighbourhood which has a lot going for it. The feedback we’re getting is that people can see the positive things that are happening within the community.

“Our Facebook page, which has 1800 members, is a great way of engaging with residents who want to express their concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour. We then work closely with local authorities to make sure residents’ voices are heard.

“We’re delighted to have been recognised in this way – it’s a great feeling to have our work seen and be officially congratulated by the High Sheriff.”

VRU Director, Jim Pegler, said: “Our mission is to be the catalyst to change how partner agencies work with communities to tackle the root causes of violence, and to steer young people away from knife crime, serious violence and exploitation.”

“Working with neighbourhoods and listening to what they tell us is a vital part of our work. The partnership in Millbrook illustrates the power of engagement and how focused activities for families and young people can help reduce anti-social behaviour and violence. It’s about providing that alternative positive narrative alongside a strong and positive local identity.”

The VRU also supports the Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) which was introduced last month bringing 25 partner agencies from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight including the NHS, Probation, Youth Justice, policing, local authorities, education and the Fire Service together to further protect communities.

Further information is available at and on the Millbrook Matters Facebook page.

More information about the VRU can be found at Violence Reduction Unit – Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner (