A key issue in next years the GLA elections will clearly be how London responds to the high incidence of knife crime we have seen in the past few years. So it was good to see Community against Knife crime launch today in my ward, Church St in the City of Westminster. This in response to the recent killing of Youssef along the Edgware Rd only last month, Zahir Visiter in March next to Regents Park mosque for his watch and Abdul Zaman in Little Venice for his iPhone. It is incredible that three young mens life’s have been wasted while their families still grief for them.
Everyone accepted that the response to the issue wasn’t just about police numbers but a much more holistic approach was required which looked at other things like school exclusion, youth service provision and giving young men space to deal with their emotions.
So the causes of violent crime are multi-faceted and complex, but we know that these have been compounded by the government’s £1billion cut to the Metropolitan Police Service’s budget by 2023. It has no place in London and we must do everything in our capacity to stop it in its tracks. This must include being tough on the root causes of crime.
City Hall recently highlighted the specific and significant link between poverty and violent crime. It is something that is widely acknowledged but not talked about nearly enough on the public stage. The mayor is attempting to address this issue through the roll-out of a £45million Young Londoners Fund as part of his wider public health approach model. But there’s no escaping the need for the government to confront the empirical reality that violent crime is one of the side-effects of their programme of austerity.
There is of course no excuse for criminality. We now need everyone – communities, the police and politicians – to play their part in tackling these vile acts.