Grass-roots youth groups, local politicians, police representatives and faith leaders have come together to call on the new Mayor to tackle the worrying upsurge in youth violence in Lambeth.
A letter coordinated by Lambeth Cabinet Member Cllr Mohammed Seedat and co-signed by Council Leader Lib Peck and Chuka Umunna MP has called for the new Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime to make 'reducing youth violence' one of MOPAC's key crime reduction targets and to set up a team to coordinate a cross-London effort to reduce youth violence:
Dear Ms Linden,
Congratulations on your appointment as the new Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. London faces many challenges and we hope you will engage with communities to ensure our city remains safe for all its residents.
We know the Metropolitan Police continues to work hard with fewer resources. In Lambeth, the Police force has successfully exceeded the ‘MOPAC 7’ crime-reduction targets set by your predecessor. But we believe these targets do not address a growing problem in parts of London but especially in Lambeth - that of youth violence.
We know first-hand the destruction caused to individual families and entire communities. Youth violence has increased significantly in Lambeth in the past year. There is now a definite trend with more recorded ‘violence with injury’ crimes here than in similar boroughs.
Figures show an 8.9% increase from April to January (2015-2016) and recently there were 13 separate stabbing incidents in the space of 2 weeks, most involving school-age children as well as several shootings involving young men.
Tackling youth violence is not something that can be done overnight. We know from the work we do with young people on the ground that there are no quick fixes and no easy solutions. Youth violence is an ongoing problem but further cuts to policing budgets, which have already led to 1,000 police officers disappearing from the streets of London, risk seriously undermining the fight against this type of crime.
However, we believe with the right partnership between the Met, the local authority and grassroots organisations, we can begin the process of breaking communities free from the cycle of violence.
For this reason we urge you to make tackling youth violence one of your top priorities. Specifically:
- We request ‘reducing youth violence’ is set as one of MOPAC’s key crime reduction targets. This would ensure there is a proper organisational focus on tackling the issue and send a clear message that you are serious about reversing the upward trend in violent incidents involving young people.
- We want the GLA to take youth violence seriously by setting up a team (alongside the Met’s Trident taskforce) that works with local authorities and grassroots organisations in a cross-London effort to reduce youth violence, with successful intervention for those at risk. The ‘Shield’ program should be used as a ‘lessons learned’ exercise but not abandoned entirely.
We look forward to your response and we would welcome the chance to sit down with you to discuss the extra support MOPAC can give to Lambeth.
Councillor Mohammed Seedat, Cabinet Member for Safer and Healthier Communities, London Borough of Lambeth
Councillor Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council
Councillor Jane Pickard, Cabinet Member for Families and Young People
Councillor Jane Edbrooke, Cabinet Member for Children and Schools
Councillor Donatus Anyanwu, Lead Member for Community Relations
Chuka Umunna, Member of Parliament for Streatham
Helen Hayes, Member of Parliament for Dulwich & West Norwood
Florence Eshalomi, Greater London Assembly Member for Lambeth & Southwark
Richard Parkes, Managing Director at Young Lambeth Cooperative
Stu Thomson, Youth Service Director at Knights Youth Centre
Nick Mason OBE, Chairman of Lambeth Safer Neighbourhood Board
Steve Chalke MBE, Founder of Oasis Trust
Ira Campbell, Managing Director at Marcus Lipton Community Enterprise
Emma Dawoud, Managing Director at Enterprise LDN
Ann Stockreiter, CEO at South Central Youth
Winston Goode, Managing Director at Juvenis
Eamonn Madden, Director at Inspirational Youth
Margaret Pierre, Director at High Trees Community Development Trust
Mahamed Hashi - Chairman of Lambeth Stop and Search Monitoring Group
Lorna Campbell - Former councillor, Chair of Lambeth Council Commission on Violent Youth Crime 2008