Birmingham Police has associated with a creative arts group to design a virtual reality experience where children are involved in a world of gang culture and peer pressure.
“The VR package throws the children into a dilemma they may well face in real life. It allows them to make decisions in a safe environment and hopefully steer them to make good choices. Anonymous records of the decisions made are recorded and at the end of the experience we have a group discussion looking at the consequences of those decisions. The feedback from the children is very encouraging. It’s an interactive way to support young people in their decisions, discuss topics like peer pressure and give them confidence to make informed choices.” – Sergeant Helen Carver from Birmingham Police Partnerships team.
Hundreds of children took part in this assignment pre-lockdown.
It has now started again and offered to teachers to have follow-up sessions with children about the concerns raised.
Virtual Decisions is one of many imaginative initiatives being introduced in Birmingham.
“We’re one of eight pilot areas in England and Wales to receive six-figure funding to identify and implement programmes designed to safeguard children and young people – and to steer them away from violent crime.” – Sergeant Helen Carver
“We’re constantly striving for new and imaginative ways to connect with children and influencing them to make positive decisions. We need to break the cycle of vulnerability in some of our more deprived communities.” – Chief Inspector Corrina Griffiths from Birmingham Police
“Engaging tools to help young people connect actions to consequences are vital and I’m pleased we’ve been able to provide some funding from the Violence Reduction Unit to support this project. This is just one way we are tackling and preventing gang violence and ensuring that young people who maybe more at risk are able to see the ramifications of becoming involved in gangs.” – Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Waheed Saleem.