Vertical Markets

Violence unit head

by Mark Rowe

Lib Peck, the Labour leader of Lambeth Council and London Councils executive member for Crime and Public Protection, has been appointed to lead the new Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).

Set up last year by Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the Violence Reduction Unit is bringing together specialists in health, police and local government to learn from and apply the public-health approach used in Glasgow and elsewhere to tackle the underlying causes of violent crime. Lib Peck will step down from Lambeth Council and join the VRU in a full-time role, reporting to Deputy Mayor Sophie Linden.

Sadiq Khan said: “I am delighted that Lib has been appointed as the director of the Violence Reduction Unit and I know she will bring valuable leadership and expertise, building on her huge experience of working with community groups and partner organisations across London.

“We know that the causes of violent crime are extremely complex, involving deep-seated problems in society such as poverty, alienation, mental health issues and a lack of opportunity. Although I am working tirelessly with local councils, charities and community groups on a public health approach to tackling serious violence, it’s clear we need to do more to support them in driving down not just knife crime, but all forms of violent crime. We have listened to cities like Glasgow and we know that they have had success in tackling crime with similar initiatives. In London, the Violence Reduction Unit will lead the capital’s response to understanding the causes of violent crime and working to stop it spreading by bringing together specialists from right across the city.”

And Lib Peck said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the first director of the Violence Reduction Unit. Tackling violence is a number one priority for Londoners and I hope to be effective in working with a huge variety of community groups, public sector partners and the police to bring a fresh approach to this devastating and destructive crime.”

According to the Mayor, the Unit has been set up to divert people away from violence by making interventions at an early age and providing young Londoners with better, positive life opportunities. First work; an ‘urgent review’ of murders and the most serious violent incidents in the capital.


London Assembly member Steve O’Connell, Chairman of the Police and Crime Committee, welcomed the appointment. He said: “The unit has real potential to make London safer but the devil will be in the detail. There are many things it needs to focus on, but the key things are that it must concentrate on all forms of violence, it must be locally delivered and prevention must play a big part.

“The Committee looks forward to meeting with Lib Peck soon to hear the ideas she has on how to tackle violence in the capital. Almost every week we hear of yet another young life being taken in the capital because of violence so time really is of the essence to get the VRU up and running.”

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