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About the Violence Reduction Unit

The Scottish Violence Reduction Unit is a national centre of expertise in tackling violence. Working in partnership with Police Scotland and the Scottish Government the SVRU aims to prevent violence wherever it’s found from the streets, to our classrooms, homes and workplaces.  

The SVRU have adopted a public health approach which treats violence as a disease. We seek to diagnose and analyse the root causes of violence in Scotland, then develop and evaluate solutions which can be scaled-up across the country 

From our Navigators working in hospital emergency rooms to connect with patients affected by violence to the social enterprise Street&Arrow which serves up second chances to people with convictions, the SVRU are constantly innovating with the aim to make Scotland the safest country in the world.  

The unit was originally founded in 2005 by Strathclyde Police who in the face of rising homicide rates wanted to try a different approach to tackling violence. That year Scotland had been branded the most violent country in the developed world with 137 murders in one year, 41 of those deaths in Glasgow city alone. Following a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) the city was dubbed the “murder capital” of Europe.  

Since then Scotland has seen homicides fall to their lowest level since 1976 with the latest figures showing a 39% decrease over the last decade. However despite the improvement violence remains a chronic problem for our country with domestic abuse and sexual violence a growing concern.  

Expanded into a national unit in 2006 the SVRU is directly funded by the Scottish Government with an annual budget of around a million pounds. Our team of serving police officers, civilian police staff, experts and people with lived experience work closely with colleagues and partners across health, education, social work and many other fields. 

We are motivated by the belief that violence is preventable, not inevitable.