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Opinion: We need de-radicalisation programmes

PUBLISHED: 08:30 22 February 2020

City & East AM Unmesh Desai has been talking terror attacks and tackling crime with young people.

City & East AM Unmesh Desai has been talking terror attacks and tackling crime with young people.

Archant

At a recent Plenary session of the London Assembly, I proposed a motion asking the government to fund the Metropolitan Police on a long-term basis, rather than year-to-year.

This will allow the police to put in place a more sustainable plan of how to keep Londoners safe. I am very pleased that my motion attracted cross-party support.

I also had the opportunity to question the Met Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, at the latest Police and Crime Committee about the terror attack that took place in Streatham earlier this month.

Nothing should detract from the swift action taken by the police to minimise the consequences of what could easily have been a fatal attack. However, it is extremely concerning that there have been two horrific attacks in recent months from terrorists released on licence.

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While the debate often centres around longer sentences, we must not lose sight of the need for effective de-radicalisation and probation support programmes.

My other question at Police and Crime Committee about speeding up medical assistance to victims on the scene of terror attacks also received national coverage, and the commissioner accepted the need to review current procedures.

On a local level, I recently attended the launch of the borough's Youth Safety Board. It was encouraging to see so many young people at Stratford Town Hall, community leaders and police representatives. A long-term approach to tackling violent crime with an emphasis on education, prevention and community engagement is the only way forward.

I was also pleased to hear the recent news that the Woolwich Ferry will be placed in the hands of TfL later this year. This will ensure a more reliable service after customers have been plagued with problems and disruption under the current contractor.

Finally, it was both an inspiring and humbling occasion when Holocaust Memorial Day was marked at City Hall at the end of last month. I found the testimonies of Holocaust survivors deeply moving, as always.

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