Newham Borough Commander Tony Nash on the police and young people working together


- Credit: Archant

This week I’d like to highlight the fantastic work that Newham police carry out with our local young people and communities.

While most of our work is focused on enforcing the law and protecting the vulnerable, we also work with a wide variety of third-party organisations in supporting young people and communities in Newham.

Recently, I went to play basketball with the Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA), based in Beckton. We have been working with NASSA for several years, alongside their brilliant Carry a Basketball Not a Blade campaign, which was set up in 2008 to highlight the tragic loss of young lives through knife crime in London.

Organisations such as NASSA or Fight for Peace, the boxing and martial arts academy which we also work with regularly, are so important in Newham. Like us, they recognise the need to identify young people’s potential, particularly those not in work, training or education and who may be involved in gang activity and crime, and offer them positive, educational ways to become involved in their society and community.

I have always believed the police should look at crime and its associated problems holistically – to find the “answer” to crime, we need to address the factors behind it. By working with third-party organisations and charities, we can show that police officers are willing to put time, effort and enthusiasm into helping communities and individuals to find their own ways out of criminal activity and antisocial behaviour.

It is up to all of us who live, work and stay in Newham to connect with young people and communities, especially in those areas which are adversely affected by crime. It is only by engaging with the next generation on their terms, and by making them feel safe and confident, that we will be able to prevent more senseless deaths, injuries and violence. Our teenagers should be able to make positive choices, and be supported in those choices, and it is up to us as police officers to help provide a safe and productive environment in which they can develop.