Writes Cllr Seyi Akiwowo- West Ham CLP Women’s Officer
At our October General Committee meeting we were deciding motions to put forward to London Regional Conference. I’m pleased that West Ham CLP voted for the motion to address youth violence and cuts to policing.
There wasn’t time to propose the motion but below is the statement I prepared. Our motion is now a composite with Orpington CLP and I urge all delegates at London Regional Conference to pass this
On behalf of the victims of violent youth crime in London, their families, their friends and their communities I urge you to support this motion on youth safety. This motion is about three key issues:
1) Commits the next Labour Government to invest in the future of our young people by resourcing councils and the voluntary sector to deliver high quality youth provision, programmes and anti-gang diversion programmes.
2)highlights the impact of austerity cuts on young people, our communities and our emergency services and calls on the Labour Party to continue campaigning against these cuts.
3) Commits the next Labour Government to reserve these cuts as well as provide police officers with resources to deliver proactive and community engagement work
We’ve seen disgraceful cuts to Youth Services and the Met police.
At least £22 million has been cut from council youth service budgets across London. and more than 30 youth centres have been closed. Funding to voluntary sector youth work has also gone down – by an average of 35 per cent in councils
Good quality youth services help prevent young people from falling into crime and also make them less vulnerable to the exploitation of groups like gangs.
Gun, knife and acid crime are up. Homicides and youth homicides are up—an 84% increase in youth homicide in the past year. That is not an “spike” in crime, it is serious and we have to treat it as such. Cuts are having particular impact on young people from poorer backgrounds.
There are particular problems for young black people, young LGBT people, and young women. So it appears that the cuts have hit precisely those who often need youth services the most.
The Mayor of London has warned that our city faces losing up to 4,000 police officers at a time of “unprecedented” challenges and that the £400 million gap may endanger the safety of residents.
Last month Parliament discussed Police funding in London. It was revealed that:
– The Met has lost £600m since 2010 so there are fewer police officers on the street
– The Tories plan to cut a further £400m by 2020
– Police stations are closing and neighbourhood policing is under attack across the capital. Half of London’s remaining 73 police station counters are set to close
These cuts are having a damaging and negative impact on neighbourhood policing, police conducting proactive work and building trust and relationship with communities.
Comrades, we are members of this party to advocate for and campaign on behalf of those voices, those communities, those human beings the Tories do not care about. We are party members that believe in our public sector its services and the future generation. So comrades this is an opportunity to not only enact these values but put forward an important and different issue at Conference that would not get discussed otherwise.”