Letter: Keeping violent crime down

The number of children identified as being exploited by criminals in Redbridge has increased signifi

Sadiq Khan has pledge millions for early intervention to divert young Londoners away from violence and the clutches of gangs - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Staying one step ahead of gangs

Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member, City & East, writes:

As lockdown measures continue to ease this summer, we must avoid a return to the levels of violent crime we saw before the pandemic.

The mayor and the Met Police have been working hard towards this. In the last five years, over a billion pounds has been invested by City Hall into policing and boosting officer numbers.

In recent months, we have seen Sadiq Khan pledge millions in funding for early intervention and custody programmes to divert young Londoners away from violence and the clutches of gangs.

Young people have been involved in stabbings in Newham

In the last five years, over a billion pounds has been invested by City Hall into policing and boosting officer numbers - Credit: Met Police


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But we need to stay one step ahead of the ruthless organised crime groups who are exploiting vulnerable Londoners and children as young as nine years old through county lines drug activity.

Schemes led by the mayor’s Violence Reduction Unit, which has been taking a public health approach to violent crime since 2018, have been making a positive impact.

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We now need the government to reverse the huge cuts they have made to the Met Police and youth services over the last decade.

Without that, they risk leaving London on the back foot, and with support services unable to provide the long-term support victims and young people require.

This is also a golden opportunity for the Home Office to renew their Serious Violence Strategy, so it has a closer focus on the poverty and inequality which underpins knife and gun crime.

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