Croydon council have appointed a director to lead a newly formed network applying a 'public health approach' to tackling knife crime.

Sarah Hayward will head up the borough's Violence Reduction Network, one of the first of its kind in the capital, which adopts a holistic approach to violence, treating it as a public health issue to be addressed at its root causes.

In practice this means intervening at critical moments in a young person's life, providing support and guidance to prevent them being drawn into a lifestyle associated with violence.

The new director will work in partnership work with the police and local community networks, influencing national policy on behalf of Croydon, ensuring the unit's work is closely aligned with City Hall and across London.

Ms Hayward said: “I am pleased to be joining Croydon and leading their pioneering approach to reducing violence in the borough.

"It’s an exciting opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of Croydon residents and I look forward to getting started.”

The public health approach has gained popularity after its introduction in Glasgow saw a dramatic reduction in violent crime.

It is hope this effect can be replicated in Croydon.

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities, said: “This is a really important appointment for Croydon.

"Tireless work by statutory and community partners working together is having a positive effect on bringing knife crime down in Croydon.

"Having Sarah on board will help us achieve our vision of a public health approach to reducing violence across the board - stepping in earlier and preventing violence from taking place with our communities playing a central role.”