OPINION: Community Links life-president Kevin Jenkins urges all to help young beat violent crime

PUBLISHED: 08:00 24 May 2017

Kevin Jenkins

The escalation of knife related crime and the loss of young lives resulting, has been well documented in all media channels over the past few weeks.

Sadly, Newham is one of the areas of London experiencing the greatest escalation. The focus on knife related crime has also overshadowed a worrying, and just as lethal increase in the use of acid, or other corrosive substances, as a weapon.

For me, what is more worrying is that I have witnessed this pattern too many times before, ie a reported escalation in knife crime, followed by immediate public outrage demanding action, and then everything goes quiet until a new cycle kicks in. This pattern would suggest that whatever action, if any, taken to prevent and reduce knife related crime has failed. Cases of knife crime are complex and multi-faceted and any strategy to prevent this must reflect this if it is to be successful.

The loss of structured leisure opportunities for young people, as is the case in Newham, is one of the major contributing causes, so too are the numbers of young people who are still not accessing the new training and employment opportunities that Newham’s relentless regeneration is bringing and feel disaffected and disenfranchised as a result.

Key to any success will be the involvement of Newham’s decision makers, enforcement agencies, deliverers of young peoples services and Newham young people themselves, including victims of such crime.

If we do not respond together, I fear yet another set of headlines and the loss of young lives in a few months time.

Perhaps, whoever is elected as Newham’s two MPs on June 8, can get the ball rolling and call all stakeholders together to begin to find a strategy and a solution. More from Kevin

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