Derby City Council Implements Virtual Reality Initiative to Combat Youth Knife Crime and Gang Activity

by | Dec 23, 2023

Derby City Council is taking action to address concerns about knife crime and gang culture among teenagers. They are using virtual reality (VR) technology to provide young people with an immersive experience called Virtual_Decisions. This initiative, funded by the Home Office’s Safer Streets 4 programme, will distribute 16 VR headsets to schools and community organizations in Derby.

Virtual_Decisions, developed by Round Midnight, is designed to empower young people by helping them understand the consequences of carrying a knife or getting involved in a gang. The program includes two videos: Virtual_Decisions: GANGS and Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES. Creative arts workshops will also be provided to further explore the themes.

Virtual_Decisions: GANGS shows viewers scenarios related to gang culture and anti-social behavior. The program features actors aged 13-18 to provide an authentic portrayal. The aim is to equip young people with knowledge to make informed decisions.

Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES focuses on the complexities of carrying a knife. Participants can explore different scenarios related to knife crime using VR headsets. The program emphasizes the severe consequences and the importance of avoiding violence.

One notable aspect of Virtual_Decisions is its interactivity. Participants can navigate through scenarios and make choices, resulting in various outcomes. This approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of decision-making under pressure.

Derby City Council’s investment in VR technology reflects their commitment to resilience among young people and reducing violence. Councillor Hardyal Dhindsa sees this initiative as a significant step towards achieving these goals.

VR workshops have already been effective nationwide, with the Police leading their delivery. By partnering with Round Midnight, Derby City Council ensures participants benefit from a unique learning experience.

In Derby, young people will have the opportunity to explore all outcomes under the guidance of the delivery team. Creative arts workshops provide an avenue for self-expression and further exploration of the issues.

This project is one of the first initiatives led by a local authority in partnership with the Police, addressing knife crime and gang culture proactively. The use of VR technology showcases Derby City Council’s commitment to innovative solutions that resonate with young people.

Through Virtual_Decisions, Derby City Council aims to equip teenagers with knowledge and skills to make informed decisions and navigate challenging situations. By addressing the root causes of knife crime and gang culture, the council hopes to create safer streets and a more resilient community.

As VR headsets are introduced in secondary schools across Derby, young people will engage with this groundbreaking technology. By immersing themselves in scenarios, they will understand the consequences of their actions and their impact on their lives and others.

Derby City Council’s investment in VR technology demonstrates their commitment to the well-being and safety of young citizens. Through this approach, they provide education and empowerment, ensuring young people have the tools to make positive choices and avoid the dangers of knife crime and gang culture. By investing in virtual reality, Derby City Council takes a proactive stance in tackling these issues, paving the way for a safer and more resilient community.