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The Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit was set up in 2019 following a successful bid by Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, along with partner organisations, to the Home Office Early Intervention Youth Fund for additional funding to tackle the growing threat of County Lines.

“Violence has no place in our society. We must tackle violence at its root cause and work with the public and our partners to create the safe and secure communities we all want and which allow all of us to flourish and prosper.

Gangs that exploit people and coerce them into a life of crime are preying on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. While no agency can tackle this alone, in Essex we know that working together, through our Violence and Vulnerability Unit, can turn the tide against these gangs, protect the vulnerable and help to ensure we all live prosperous and productive lives.

Protecting children and vulnerable people from harm and tackling gangs and serious violence are priorities in our Police and Crime Plan and they are important to the people of Essex who want to make sure their young people are protected and that violent activity is removed from our communities.

In Essex, we are making progress by using multi-agency prevention initiatives focussed on positive activities for young people, mentoring programmes and interventions at ‘reachable’ moments – all delivered in partnership with police, councils, health, education, criminal justice agencies, faith groups, voluntary organisations, fire and rescue and the community sector. This work is backed up and supported through a strong surge in enforcement by Essex Police.

We know that, by working together, we can achieve more and that our multi-agency approach has already proven effective in reducing violence and harm in our county.

In 2020/21, we have sought to understand and challenge whether services in Essex are responding to this agenda in the most efficient way, by developing a partnership communications strategy, creating a “voice of community” programme, and by building capacity within the Essex workforce, along with our direct interventions with young and vulnerable people.

By working together, we can tackle the devastating effects of gangs and County Lines in our communities. We believe that, by continuing to work together, we can make safer, secure communities for all.”

Roger Hirst – Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex and Chair of Essex Violence & Vulnerability Unit (VVU)


We support direct work with young people at risk of violence, provide training and development to those who are on the front line and raise awareness with the general public about the dangers of County Lines.

We are funded by a combination of grant funding and partner contributions from the following agencies: The Home Office (Violence Reduction Unit Fund), Essex PFCC and Essex County Council.