Helping young people stand up against violence
I am hopeful when I see communities coming together to take a stand against the violence. In many ways, prevention starts in the community. I am also hopeful when I see many young people up and down the United Kingdom taking a stand against violence. Young people who clearly possess a range of healthy viewpoints and attitudes.
2000 was a big year for me. It was the year I got my first promotion as a police officer in Scotland. In many ways the previous 13 years of hard work and commitment were starting to pay off. My first step on the promotion ladder. Who knew where it would go but in 2000, I had hope that this promotion wouldn’t be my last.
November 2000 was also the year that the young hopeful Damilola Taylor become a statistic of violence in the UK. His murder shocked me at the time because of his age, however my focus was on the perpetrators, hoping they would be brought to justice.
Fast forward 20 years and you would be excused for not feeling hopeful. We still see daily and indiscriminate violence on the streets of London. The victims and indeed the perpetrators in many ways remind me of Damilola in that they are more often than not, young men.
Despite these incidents I am hopeful. We are talking about violence in ways that show we understand it better than we did in 2000. I am hopeful because of the emergence of violence reduction units (VRUs) across England and Wales, many of whom model themselves on the Scottish VRU of which I was part of between 2009 and my retirement from policing in 2017. I learned so much during this time and have a continued determination to pass on my knowledge and passion to others.
I am hopeful when I see communities coming together to take a stand against the violence. In many ways, prevention starts in the community. I am also hopeful when I see many young people up and down the United Kingdom taking a stand against violence. Young people who clearly possess a range of healthy viewpoints and attitudes that when harnessed will make the difference that’s needed to win this battle.
As a young person I remember being told, along with my friends that we were the leaders of tomorrow. Whilst I understood the sentiment back then I now suggest that young people are leaders today.
Helping young people develop their leadership to prevent violence has been a passion of mine that began during my time working with the VRU. It’s a passion that continues to this day.
In the coming months I look forward to supporting the Hope 2020 campaign in developing the leadership of more young people to help them stand up against violence in their communities.
Graham Goulden is a former Scottish Police Officer who spent his last 8 years working as a Chief Inspector with the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit. In retirement he supports a number of English VRUs in developing violence prevention programmes that build personal and community leadership to help prevent violence. Check out his website www.grahamgoulden.com