War on violence is a national concern

29th June 2001 at 01:00
It is clear that the article in "You and Your Job" on our violence reduction strategy (Friday, May 8) has struck a national chord. We have been astounded by the breadth of organisations and individuals expressing interest.

They include young people, concerned parents, primary and secondary schools, education authorities, Connexions, careers services, magistrates, youth and health services and our universities. And the response spreads from the south coast to the outer tip of the Shetland Isles.

Last weekend I bought a map of the British Isles which divides the country into postcode areas and we are marking the responses on the map with stickers. After seven working days since the article "One strike and you're out" was published, more than 70 letters have come in from about three-quarters of the UK's postcode areas.

We have had a similar number of phone requests. As we send out the information packs and leaflets, the word will spread and I am certain that demand will mushroom.

We feel moved by this response. It is gratifying to know that young people and parents are seeking advice alongside some of our major educational institutions.

We are responding to everyone who has requested information and are hoping to take the project forward.

Our vision is for the Mansfield and Ashford youth offending team to act as a national flagship for "fighting" violent crime by:

* collating and developing information, expertise and resources;

* disseminating information resources and good practice to individuals, schools, youth offending teams and other organisations;

* developing a website to share information and good practice.

The evidence suggests that the joined-up working practices being developed by this youth offending team are having an impact in reducing violent offending and making our schools and communities safer places.

Kieran Lee, Nottinghamshire youth offending team officer (education)

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