by Terry Paul
Last month Newham Council adopted the recommendations made by the Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Commission, which I chair, into Youth Violence and Gang Crime.
The Commission undertook a review of youth violence and gang crime in response to the concerns raised by Newham residents. As part of the review the Commission took evidence from a range of people including police officers, council employees (from Newham and other local authorities), academics and, of course, young people in Newham. During that time, as I blogged here, I also attended many local ward meetings to update Labour party members about the the work of the Commission and to get their views and feedback.
In 2012/13 in Newham there were 80 instances of youth and gang crime (12th highest in London) and 204 incidents of serious youth violence (7th highest in London). However the most important thing to state is that the vast majority of young people in Newham are studying hard for qualifications and college places, and those who are involved in youth violence are a small minority whose actions are disproportionate to their actual number.
The Commission recommended better joint working between Council partners, targeted youth prevention and improved resident communication as essential elements to tackling an issue of grave concern to residents. It also must be noted that the acceptance of the report’s recommendations proves that Newham Council, the Mayor, and Labour Councillors, are committed to listening to the concerns of residents and Councillors, developing solutions and being absolutely focussed on making Newham a safer place to live, work and stay.