Letter: Keeping violent crime down
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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.
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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.