The CIRV programme has been refined over several areas globally starting with the Boston Ceasefire programme (USA) in the 1990’s in response to high levels of firearm homicides perpetuated by gang and youth violence. In the Boston programme, academics and law enforcement officials came together to deliver a group centric programme which resulted in significant (over 50% reduction) in firearm homicides and associated violence. The intervention was termed “group violence intervention (GVI)” and focussed entirely on the consequences to groups engaged in gang criminality but didn’t deal with individuals in isolation. This type of intervention has many different possible operating models and is grouped under the term ‘focussed deterrence’.

The programme later moved to Cincinnati where it became the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) this time the programme was refined to include both group work as well as individual support for those engulfed in gang violence. Both Cincinnati and Boston saw sizable reductions in gang violence during the intervention period.

With the emergence of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in the mid 2000’s the East End of Glasgow was subject to a CIRV styled intervention. This was again refined for use in the UK from the USA model and ran for several years, was independently evaluated and shown to produce large reductions in violent offending and homicides with reductions over 40% observed. The programme was different again however as there was a focus on multi-agency collaboration, group and individual working. All of the above programmes whilst different, share similar principles in that (with the exception of Boston) there is a focus on pulling the various leavers that lead to change in terms of both deterrence and opportunity. There is also a strong group focus so for instance when a gang attack occurs a message is perpetuated to the group that the matter will not be tolerated as well as the individuals directly connected.

In 2019 Northamptonshire Police took on the CIRV methodology for the first time in England embedding it successfully. The programme is still in operation at the time of writing and has several additional innovative functions such as a 24/7 on call, embedded psychological understanding and application, a base within a Community Interest Company (CIC) and a real focus on connection to opportunity via a teachable/ reachable moment. These aspects of the programme are unique to Northamptonshire CIRV. This programme has seen a 40% reduction in offending (when compared 6 months before vs 6 month after intervention) and has been independently evaluated by the College of Policing as being a successful intervention. (1)

In its purest sense, CIRV is a mechanism for identifying risk accurately, being there when it matters (reachable moment) and then sequences interventions that are more often than not already commissioned and then to place the young person into an actual opportunity. The programme is holistic and focusses on the needs of the referred person as opposed to that agency’s obligations to that person (such as an education or criminal justice need). This factor is again unique and furthermore the programme helps make sense of the complex partnership world around the referred person and makes best use of statutory and non-statutory services.