In the spotlight: Our mini reporters’ interview the Violence Reduction Unit Partnership Lead, Dan Diamond

As part of a partnership between Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) our Media Cubs mini reporters chatted with Dan Diamond the Partnership Lead at the organisation to find out what his job entails and what the unit is doing across the region… with some fun questions thrown in too!

First up, Nickita, who asked: What does your job involve?

“At the Violence Reduction Unit, we work closely with the government, including the Home Office and the policing minister. Every year, we get £3.5 million pounds from the government, and we have to share that out in the region and make sure it is used correctly in our aim of reducing violence. A lot of our work is about helping communities and working with them to stop people from getting in trouble and getting hurt or being harmful to other people.”

Joshua asked: How do you spend your time at work?

“I spend a lot of time in meetings with really important people and we have a really big programme of work that we have to deliver. I get to see lots of exciting people, for example, I got to meet a group of young people who were performing an expressive dance about their experiences of violence in Bolton recently. My work is very varied.”

Julie asked: What are your plans for reducing crime?

“Crime is an enormous thing, a small word, but a big thing. The Violence Reduction Unit concentrates on violence and the things that lead people to be violent or vulnerable and be victims of violence. And our work is at the starting point that leads people to that space – where they start getting involved in harmful and damaging behaviour. We are really concerned with education and work closely with schools, parents and organisations – to support young people. All young people are products of the adult world and what has happened to them growing up is often because of what the adults are doing around them. Our programme to reduce crime addresses lots of different things like friendship groups, parenting and teacher resources, sports and recreation – positive outlets and opportunities.”

Tanisha asked: Do you enjoy your job and if so, what do you enjoy about it?

“Well, that is a really easy questions to answer – yes I do enjoy my job. Very much so. I get to meet so many different people and I certainly never thought I would be being interviewed by mini reporters!”

Freya asked: What made you work in the VRU?

“I used to be a probation officer and do a lot of work with people that were in violent gangs. Unfortunately, some young people get involved with gangs, and not necessarily because they want to, it is because they get drawn into it. I became very aware of all the different aspects of those people’s lives in my probation role, so when the job came up with the VRU I knew it would enable me to get more involved in helping people avoid this life.”

Ebony asked: What is the most exciting part of your job?

“I really enjoy working with my colleagues – there skills and knowledge are so varied – and I am always learning from them. But the most exciting thing is seeing people change and helping communities to improve to get to where they want to be, and I know my colleagues feel the same way. We all want to see great things happen and support people, and when great things do happen, it is exciting, and we celebrate that.”

Ben asked: What is the most difficult area of your job?

“There are lots of challenges in society, people are having a tough time and have really difficult issues in their lives and unfortunately, these stories don’t get told enough and you need to take a step back and look at the injustice and unfairness of things. But I feel lucky that I am in this role to try and help make changes. But it is hard.

“We are lucky to live in a beautiful country that has a lot of opportunity and a lot of resources but unfortunately those resources don’t always get shared out in a way that they could be. And working in that climate can be very challenging.”

Now for the difficult questions….not often heard at a press conference:

Ebony asked: If you didn’t have this job what else would you do?

“If I could do something completely different, I think I would work with wood, designing and building things.”

Joshua asked: If you could be a superhero who would you be and why?

“Spiderman. When I was younger, I convinced myself that I would be able to one day climb up walls, but it never happened! Everyone liked him and he was quick and nimble on his feet, and he lived in a city like I do. He was all about looking after people and saving people and I liked that about him.”

Nickita asked: What is the wildest trip you have ever been on?

“One of the toughest was definitely the three peak challenge and I just about did it in 24 hours – that was pretty wild for me as I am not much of a wild person!”

Aml asked: Would you rather be poor and happy or rich and sad?

Definitely poor and happy – because I have done that, and it was alright!

Watch the full interview here: