Image of Superintendent Georgie Garvey
Superintendent Georgie Garvey is the temporary director of the Merseyside VRP. With a background in crime prevention, she sees exactly where their work fits into the Merseyside Police’s recently-launched Prevention strand, a national-first initiative that she helped design.
“I knew they would be big shoes to fill, and word had got round what a good team the MVRP was – particularly when it came to innovative approaches to everything from engaging with early years children to reducing gambling-related harms.
But two things have struck me during my short stay in the hot seat; the passion that goes with that professionalism and just how the public health approach of the MVRP melds so seamlessly with the collaborative, community-led Prevention strand of policing that the Merseyside force is pioneering.
This philosophy is about recognising the value of working in partnership and the specialist knowledge and skills that our partners can bring to reducing vulnerability and preventing serious violence.
Merseyside Police has vowed not to try to fix problems or deliver interventions that partners are better qualified to address. Rather, they will work with them. This synergetic approach has already been adopted by Violence Reduction Units throughout the country.
Within the Merseyside Police one of our objectives is to ‘Reduce Demand Through Evidence-Based Problem-Solving Approaches” and doesn’t this encapsulate the MVRP’s desire to reduce crime by devoting attention where it is needed most? Decisions made here are based on solid data yes, but also on the perceptions of young people who have vocalised so much through our Peer Action Collective and other engagement outlets.
Lessons in leadership
The partnership has pioneered Safer Schools initiatives, and I am looking forward to hearing more about the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme, which has created so many inspirational young people and encouraged them to look at their place in their communities, becoming active bystanders.
Youth Intervention and Early Help are the heart of the partnership’s work, and both have been celebrated at national level, with Operation Inclusion scooping a Howard League Award recently. Initiatives such as Reading to the Bump and Monkey Bob have generated smiles whenever I have mentioned them; but their role in forming thought and communication in those vital early days of life is a serious business and has been accepted and championed for their imaginative approach.
Prevention at our core
With so many of the Prevention pillars in place, no wonder the MVRP is so ingrained within this new philosophy. This is what made it such an attractive opportunity for me, personally. I also relished the possibility of working day-to-day with the experts that we put at the forefront of preventing violent crime – namely the teachers, youth offending teams, councillors, local authorities, sports clubs, and health professionals whose role extends to playing a part in creating safer communities.
We (the Police) have recognised that we cannot arrest our way out of the problem of serious violence. Prevention must become business as usual and at the forefront of our minds, whichever organisation we work for.
Prevention is at the core of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership, and I am determined to continue the excellent work already undertaken by my predecessors, embedding a preventative culture, and using evidence-based practice to reduce serious violence for the benefit of all communities within Merseyside.