Taskforce to help young people stay safe
Camden has launched a new Youth Safety Taskforce to look at this growing issue of concern.
The borough has seen an eight per cent rise in knife crime with injuries in the last year, according to the latest official crime figures, with young people often the victims of this crime.
This is well below the London-wide increase of 18% over the same period (October 2016 to September 2017), compared with the previous year.
The council, police and other local partners, such as voluntary youth services, are keen to look at the causes of the smaller but still significant increase in Camden and come up with possible solutions to the problem before it gets any worse.
Our local politicians and senior council officers will be getting together with local police chiefs, voluntary youth services, young people and parents as part of the Camden Youth Safety Taskforce, which will also look at how young people are sometimes the victims of knife crime.
We want every young person to grow up safely in our borough with access to all the opportunities Camden has to offer. The taskforce will be working with parents and carers, young people, voluntary youth services, our local police and MPs. At the same time, the council is continuing to invest in youth services, ensuring young people have the support they need to thrive.
Councillor Abdul Hai, Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion, is co-chairing the borough’s new taskforce with Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer.
Cllr Hai said: “We have a good record in Camden of promoting community cohesion and helping to prevent youth violence. However, recent trends mean we have to take a fresh look at this issue and how best to tackle it. The taskforce will help us to hear from as wide a group of people as possible. Young people are sometimes the victims of violent crime and we need to make sure our young people can feel safe on the streets of Camden and that we listen to their concerns.”
Keir Starmer MP said: “This is a really important initiative from Camden Council. There has been a worrying increase in youth violence in Camden and indeed across London. There is no doubt that more must be done to tackle this issue and ensure young people have the support they need to stay safe and avoid being caught up in the criminal justice system. I'm absolutely committed to working with the council and the community on this issue, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to co-chair the taskforce with Councillor Hai.”
Detective Superintendent Caroline Haines, the senior Met Police lead for knife crime in Camden and Islington, said: “Rising youth violence and knife crime is sadly a reality facing much of London. We are absolutely committed to the Youth Safety Taskforce and welcome the opportunity of working together with our community and partners to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep the young people of Camden safe and confident. We will look to build on some of the excellent partnership activity that is already ongoing, but having input from the local community is also key and that is why I am really excited about the new taskforce.”
The Youth Safety Taskforce, which held its first extended meeting for community partners on Friday, 15 December will:
- examine patterns of youth offending and violence in Camden and across London, using the latest data and research
- look at youth services in Camden, which are still relatively well-funded compared with other parts of the country and despite cuts to our budget by the government
- see what we can learn from initiatives in other cities – for example, recent work to combat youth gangs and violence in Manchester
- look at the role of social media in provoking or helping to instigate youth violence and victimisation
- find out how it feels to be a young person in Camden and hear from victims of youth violence and their families.
- Members of the Camden Youth Safety Taskforce include representatives from the Metropolitan Police, voluntary youth sector, Camden’s Youth MP, senior council officers and local politicians, including the Leader of the Council and Leader of the Opposition
- The taskforce is co-chaired by Councillor Abdul Hai, Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion, and Holborn and St Pancras MP, Keir Starmer
- Its initial findings will be shared in March 2018, with a report due in June
- For more details, visit camden.gov.uk/youthsafetytaskforce
- Camden is also supporting the Mayor of London’s campaign to deter young people from carrying knives, which is called ‘London Needs You Alive’.