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Boroughs working to tackle knife crime in London

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

Boroughs are working with local partners to tackle serious youth violence and knife crime in the capital, London Councils’ overview of borough knife crime action plans has revealed.

Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) are responsible for drawing up borough knife crime action plans and tailoring them to reflect local circumstances. CSPs are led and co-ordinated by boroughs with representatives from local communities, social work teams, voluntary groups, schools and colleges, hospitals, the Metropolitan Police and youth offending teams.

All London boroughs have knife crime action plans, which focus on 7 key areas - governance, targeting lawbreakers, keeping deadly weapons off London’s streets, protecting and educating young people, standing with communities, neighbourhoods and families against knife crime, supporting victims of knife crime and offering ways out of crime.

Objectives in each plan cover both immediate interventions and long-term, preventative measures, including:

• Identifying individuals repeatedly convicted of knife crime offences and giving them targeted support from a range of sources such as children’s social workers and gangs exit strategists
• Showing leadership and providing additional support to keep children in school rather than excluding them
• Assessing all young victims of knife crime for referral to mental health services where determined appropriate
• Placing knife bins in public places for disposal of weapons

As well as implementing borough knife crime action plans, London boroughs are also sharing examples of what is working well so that they can learn about effective initiatives in different parts of the capital.

Examples of borough initiatives to reduce knife crime include:

• Launch of Violence Reduction Partnership in Waltham Forest
• Test purchasing and working with retailers in relation to serious violence and knife crime in Croydon
• Lewisham's trauma based restorative model within youth justice and a wider community setting
• Understanding the key drivers and building the best analytical products on knife crime and serious violence in Ealing
• Young Lambeth Co-operative’s work on intelligence sharing and community tensions management with community partners in Lambeth

Cllr Jas Athwal, London Councils’ Executive member for Crime and Public Protection, said:

“There is no doubt that serious youth violence damages our communities. It is harrowing to see so many lives destroyed by involvement in these crimes - especially the lives of young people who have so much promise.

“London boroughs are serious about the role we play in reducing knife crime and serious youth violence. It is a top priority for us as local leaders. That is why we bring community partners together to galvanise both immediate action and long-term, preventative work to address this complex issue.

“The knife crime action plans we have developed demonstrate the breadth of the work we are doing to combat this scourge, protect our young people and make our communities safer. We are determined to see the number of violent deaths and injuries among our young people go down in the months ahead.”

Last year 134 homicides were recorded in London, of which 24 involved victims aged 19 or under. However knife crime injuries sustained by under-25s were down 13% compared to last year.

Protecting young people from knife crime is one of London Councils’ Pledges to Londoners, which were agreed recently by London’s borough leaders and directly elected mayors. This is the first time London Councils and its member boroughs have signed up to a series of shared commitments on the issues that matter most to Londoners, which they will deliver over the next three years. Visit www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/pledges to find out more.