Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire | WYPCC

Education inclusion focus of groundbreaking study to tackle violent crime

8th December 2020

The impact of school exclusions on serious violent crime across the county is to be the focus of ground-breaking research.

The West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit has partnered with Crest Advisory to explore patterns, trends and contributory factors, with a special attention paid to the COVID-19 period.

They are also considering the evidence around ‘what works’ to reduce unnecessary exclusions and to maintain an inclusive educational environment.

Likewise, it will focus on educational initiatives that reducing serious violence crime and exploitation among young people.

The research will be guided by two specific research questions:

  • To what extent are school exclusions a risk factor for increased vulnerability of young people being involved in serious violent crime and exploitation?
  • What impact have school closures relating to COVID-19 and home-schooling had on school exclusion rates, and how (if at all) will this be affected by the reopening of schools?

The final report will provide fresh local insight along with a set of practical, evidence-based recommendations for strengthening education inclusion in specific local contexts.

West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson is also the national APCC Lead for Serious Violence and said:

“I have continued to raise the urgent need to address the dramatic reductions in youth services in recent years and the significant increases in school exclusions, which appear to be fuelling violent crime.

“The fact that the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has now been able to partner with Crest Advisory to focus on this very issue is a positive development in helping to better understand the connections locally.

“There is already strong evidence nationally to suggest that young people permanently excluded from mainstream education are potentially much more vulnerable to being exploited by criminal gangs and all too often exposed to drugs, serious violence and knife crime.

“Being able to receive locally driven insights, leading to key recommendations will undoubtedly help us to address this within our own communities and will set us at a real advantage in taking the right actions.

“In particular, it will be crucial to understand what influence COVID-19 has had upon these issues and what approaches we should now be taking to manage the subsequent fall out.

“Change cannot, however, be achieved alone and it still requires sustained Government support for policing, youth services and community safety work to help deliver a whole system approach and effective partnership interventions to achieve longer term reductions in harm and violence amongst young people.”

Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, Chief Superintendent Jackie Marsh added:

“Although we already know that there exists a relationship between exclusions and serious violence, there is still much to be learned about the triggers and risk factors involved.

“By better understanding this complex area through comprehensive research, we can make informed decisions and interventions that will ultimately change people’s lives and keep the communities of West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe.

“Crest Advisory have extensive knowledge of serious violence and its drivers, particularly as they are dedicated to the themes of crime and justice. It is this expert insight that will allow us to inform and drive any change locally.”