Paolo Pertica


The Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (Scotland)

The citation for the award stated that it was given “for their collaborative efforts to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to the deep rooted problems of violence associated with drug and alcohol use for individuals and their communities”.

In Scotland violence is a chronic problem, including that related to alcohol and drug misuse. Although overall levels of crime have fallen in the West of Scotland, levels of violent crime, in particular knife crime, have remained relatively constant for the last 40 years.

In response to concern about violent crime, particularly rising levels of knife crime, in January 2005 Strathclyde Police established the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to target all forms of violent behaviour, in particular knife crime and weapon carrying among young men in and around Glasgow. In April 2006 the Unit’s remit was extended nationwide by the Scottish Executive, creating a national centre of expertise on tackling violence.

Adopting the public health approach as described in the WHO's World Report On Violence and Health (2002), the unit has simple aims: to reduce violent crime and behaviour by working with partner agencies to achieve long-term societal and attitudinal change, and, by focusing on enforcement, to contain and manage individuals who carry weapons or who are involved in violent behaviour.

The VRU is headed by co-directors Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan QPM and Karyn McCluskey.


Recipients of the Award

2021 Poland

Marzena Ksel

2019 United Kingdom

Ross Coomber

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2018 Moldova

Dumitru Laticevschi

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2017 Australia

Dr Ingrid van Beek AM

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2016 United Kingdom

Dave Marsden
Combat Stress

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2015 Catalunya

Programme on Substance Abuse of the Agència de Salut Pública

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2014 United Kingdom

The National Ugly Mugs Project

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2013 Iran

Dr Mohamad Shahbazi

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2012 Scotland

The Scottish Violence Reduction Unit

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Tijana Pavicevic


Saman Zamani


Marina Goloviznina
(Russian Federation)


Elena Grigoryeva
Paolo Pertica
Paolo worked within a number of drug service providers, managing a wide range of services for drug users, most of who were in prison, or being dealt with within other parts of the criminal justice system. Amongst these organisations was the Prisoners Resource Service, where he was the Service Manager. The work of this pioneering service provided much of the model adopted by HM Prison Service to develop their CARAT services and was seen by colleagues in other countries involved in EDIPP as an effective approach. Paolo travelled extensively to provide consultancy and training for these colleagues and is still held in high esteem by many of them.

Moving away from service delivery and also away from London in 2001 relocating to Blackpool, Paolo latterly worked as a senior manager in the commissioning and strategic development of a range of services, including in the fields of drugs and crime reduction and spending his free time fishing and supporting Blackpool Football Club.

Sadly Paolo passed away in 2019, leaving behind his wife and two children. Together they decided that they would like to see the award continue in his memory and we are delighted to be able to do this.