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VRU | Portsmouth


Portsmouth is a bustling island city on the south coast. There is a strong naval presence in the city and a vibrant student community associated with the University of Portsmouth. It is the most densely populated city outside London with its 217,000 residents living within 40 square kilometres. Of these residents, approximately 43,750 are under 18yrs of age, 140,400 are 18-64yrs and 30,600 are over 65yrs. 

Nearly half (46%) of Portsmouth’s housing pre-dates the First World War, and almost two thirds of houses are terraced houses, compared to the England average of a third. 

13.4% of the population in Portsmouth is income deprived according to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2019, and Portsmouth ranks 102 out of 316 local authorities in England where one is the most deprived area. Some areas of Charles Dickens and Paulsgrove are in the most deprived 10% of areas in England. 

Recognising these challenges identified all partners are committed to working together in Portsmouth to meet these challenges and provide the best outcomes for Portsmouth residents.  

In Portsmouth, the VRU works closely with Portsmouth City Council and the Safer Portsmouth Partnership. Portsmouth Health and Wellbeing Board oversees the delivery of the Community Safety Plan. To read more about how this partnership works to keep people safe click here: Home – Safer Portsmouth 

In addition, partners in Portsmouth are represented at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Strategic Violence Reduction Partnership (SVRP) Board and work closely with the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to address the root causes of serious violence.  This is supported by understanding those people that are most vulnerable to serious violence and developing a local strategy for how we focus resources on those people in most need of support.  

The VRU works with the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) to understand the evidence about what approaches work to prevent serious youth violence in the medium to longer term. You can read more about this here: Youth Endowment Fund Toolkit 

In addition to the services available in Portsmouth, the VRU commissions the following services: 

  • RESET programme  (custody navigators)  
    This is a custody intervention service for 18-25 year olds. The service is voluntary for young people that have been arrested and require guidance and support in moving away from offending and into employment, training or education.
  • CHOICES programme for years 6 and 7  
    This is a schools workshops for years 6 & 7 addressing topics such as healthy relationships and the risks of child criminal exploitation.
    This service engages with young people presenting to custody with injuries associated with violence.
  • Trauma Informed Policing 

Statement from Portsmouth Community Safety Plan –  

The priorities for 2020-2023 are:  

1) Tackling violent crime; continuing to focus on domestic abuse, serious violence and knife-enabled violence  

2) Tackling drug misuse in the city  

3) Early identification of interventions with children and young people at risk of exploitation or abuse, of misusing substances and of perpetrating anti-social behaviour or offending.  

 Contact us:  

VRU Manager: Sorrell Kenny 

Safer Portsmouth Partnership: Lisa Wills