The leader of Lambeth Council, Cllr Lib Peck, joined a cross-party group of MPs and council leaders at a City Hall summit yesterday to discuss the alarming rise in violent crime in London.
Addressing the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London, Cllr Peck called for the Government to put in place a long term vision for tackling both violent crime and the root causes of crime.
Cllr Peck said that prevention must be at the heart of efforts to break the cycle of violence and cited Lambeth’s recently adopted youth violence strategy as a blueprint for what the Government should do. Learning from successful projects such as in Glasgow , Lambeth’s approach involves fundamental changes to the way the council, community, police and third sector work together to protect the community with the aim of delivering effective early interventions.
However, Peck has warned that the Government cannot protect the public on the cheap – and that the £40m of funding announced by the Home Secretary is nowhere near enough.
The 114 page serious violence strategy, launched by the Home Secretary on Monday does not include a single mention of police cuts, despite a leaked Home Office document clearly stating that the reduction in police numbers is a contributing factor to rising violent crime. There are 2,600 fewer officers and 3,000 fewer PCSOs on London’s streets than in 2010.
Earlier this year Lambeth Labour councillors launched a petition signed by over 1,000 local residents against cuts which led to the closure of eight Lambeth police stations.
Last week the number of people to have lost their lives in London this year passed 50. The murder rate is the highest it has been in over a decade and reflects a longer term rise in violent crime, which has steadily increased since 2014.
Cllr Peck said:
“It’s clear that cuts to officer numbers have contributed to increases in serious violent crime. Eight years of austerity has stretched the police to breaking point, with thousands of front line officers lost from London’s streets.
“In Lambeth we’ve been leading the campaign against these cuts and I called on the Home Secretary to work with Mayor and local councils to agree a properly funded, long term strategy to deal with the root causes of youth violence.”
Pastor Lorraine Jones, Founder of Dwaynamics said:
“When a young life is taken there is a ripple effect that goes through the parents, siblings and the community. We have to look at all aspects of this problem – the cuts to the police, cuts to the NHS and the cuts to the council. They have negative ripple effects that are having a terrible impact on our community. Our young people need much more support but current services are under extreme pressure and are not able to cope.”
- Over £700m has been cut from the Met’s budget and there are 2,600 fewer officers and 3,000 fewer PCSOs on London’s streets than in 2010. The Met still needs to find a further £370m of savings by 2021/22.
- Founded in Angell Town, Brixton, by Pastor Lorraine Jones with the help of borough police commander Richard Wood and Det Supt Sean Oxley, Dwaynamics is a boxing gym and fitness club set up following the death of Pastor Jones’ son Dwayne, who died after being stabbed in central Brixton in February 2014 while trying to protect a friend
- Lambeth Youth Violence strategy was adopted by Cabinet on 19 March 2018: https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/(S(skmykw55ydm4b445tjix11al))/documents/s94034/Youth%20Violence%20Cabinet%20covering%20report%20March%202018%20-%20final.pdf