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Kick starting violence reduction in Devon and Cornwall

Consulting Case Study


The situation

When the Home Office made reducing serious violence a priority, it targeted resources at the areas worst affected. Significant sums were allocated to a number of police force areas across England and Wales to set up Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) and embed a public health approach to tackling the problem. Devon and Cornwall did not qualify for Home Office funding because the volume of serious violence was lower than in many parts of the country. Despite this, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Alison Hernandez was determined to address the root causes of serious violence, including domestic abuse, because it was one of the biggest concerns on the Peninsula. With the support of the Chief Constable, the PCC secured £1 million from the council tax precept to create and run a locally-funded Serious Violence Reduction Programme, bringing together police, council, schools and health leaders and charities in an ambitious multi-agency effort. Given this commitment, it was critical that the programme made rapid, real and visible progress.


Our response

The PCC and the Chief Constable chose Crest in 2020 to be their strategic advisors and delivery partners, helping to build their evidence base, design their strategy and drive change locally across multi-agency partners. Our first task was to understand the serious violence problem across Devon and Cornwall, and the current service response to this. Our multi-agency strategic needs assessment (SNA) used a co-production model to define serious violence and take in the views of local experts and drew on 13 datasets from the police and partners. Completed in four months, we turned this into a compelling strategic narrative to engage and mobilise stakeholders in support of the programme.

Our team launched this in 2021 at a series of partnership summits we supported with representatives from 14 sectors, including police, fire, education, health, local government, probation, victims services and youth offending. Using our work, the OPCC developed a strategy based around three core priorities - people, partnerships and places.

In 2022, we produced a Theory of Change for the programme, supported by a performance framework. This was informed by a gap analysis of how work being delivered and funded by the Programme. We also issued guidance and ran a series of workshops to support the four local Community Safety Partnerships use funding allocated to them by the Programme in line with the Theory of Change.

“Unlike similar organisations, I felt that Crest really excelled at being not just a research partner but a strategic partner. Throughout their projects with us, they have become an extension of our own team, immersing themselves in our ambition and local barriers whilst ensuring they remain critical friends. They are always willing to go the extra mile to recalibrate the work to incorporate changing views and pressures.”

Rebecca Inskip, Programme Director, Serious Violence Prevention, Devon and Cornwall Police and OPCC


During 18 months with the SVPP, we:

  • held 1 x call for evidence

  • engaged 130 individuals via interviews or focus groups

  • delivered 3 x stakeholder events

  • ran 1 x workshop with statutory review commissioners

  • analysed 13 datasets from police and partners

  • analysed 23 statutory reviews

  • reviewed 27 violence interventions

  • made 32 recommendations

Our impact

Since completing this work in summer 2022, the SVPP has 35 live projects, with seven in development; the programme has supported just under 1,400 young people, with 139 wider family interventions. The Home Office has recognised the programme's success, and our contribution to it, highlighting both as examples of best practice in its statutory guidance on the duty.

Our client says of our team

“A passionate team and organisation that borrows from with a range of disciplines and experiences. Crest are an organisation who celebrate their people and for good reason. Whilst credible experts, they don’t flaunt this and are prepared to provide reason and hear out new ideas. They don’t overpromise.”

Rebecca Inskip, Programme Director, Serious Violence Prevention, Devon and Cornwall Police and OPCC

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