The independent London newspaper

Give us a strategy on youth safety

17 September, 2020

• YOUR September 10 headline “Unsolved killers still free” is very reminiscent of that on April 4 last year “We know what will happen next” following the brutal slaughter of Calvin in Gospel Oak three days earlier.

His is one of the unsolved cases. If there were no killings and violence there would be no need for the second set of headlines.

The excellent Camden Council report on youth safety, published some time ago, recommended a “Glasgow-type” public health strategy to address the issues in an integrated way.

Camden has, it must be said, given grants to a number of organisations for individual projects. However there has been no overall strategy produced.

The good news is that what seems to have been due to a mixture of coronavirus Covid-19 lockdown and police actions, and arrests of some major gang violence players, has produced a considerable reduction in stabbings, and shootings, at least in Gospel Oak.

This does not mean gang violence will not return. Indeed, street-dealing continues apace, though more covertly.

Reduction in employment opportunities for young people in the coming months could well increase pressure for some to be tempted by the drug-dealing culture.

Perhaps working at home, away from street pressures, has allowed some officers to work on such a strategy. If so perhaps they could share it with those who are involved in working with “at-risk” young people.

Indeed perhaps Cllr Abdul Hai, a co-author of the excellent report mentioned above, could let us know what is happening about this strategy.



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