This year set to be the worst ever for teenage homicides
Mayor calls for action as 'perfect storm' leads to surge in deaths
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will convene a cross-party violent crime summit on Friday as the capital faces its worst year for violent teenage deaths.
Police have warned that violence is likely to surge following the lifting of lockdown restrictions, with the pandemic having created a “perfect storm” of factors that have furthered inequality among disadvantaged youths.
London is on track for its worst year on record for teenage homicides, with 22 killings already this year.
Twenty-eight teenagers were killed in 2008, the current worst year on record.
Friday’s summit will see the Mayor of London meet with Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, Crime and Policing Minister Kit Malthouse, and council leaders from across the city as they look to co-ordinate efforts to tackle the causes of violent crime and drive down teenage homicides.
Sadiq Khan said: “As we go into the summer, London and national partners, including the Met Police, the Probation Service, local authorities, City Hall and communities, are working closely together on a comprehensive plan to tackle violence and ensure young Londoners have positive activities to get involved in during the holidays.
“We are putting aside any political differences as it’s vital all relevant authorities and leaders work together to make sure we’re doing everything we can to reduce violence and keep our city safe.”
Earlier this week, the Mayor of London announced £800,000 of funding for a scheme that will provide mentoring to young Londoners in pupil referral units as well as a programme of summer activities in a bid to divert them away from crime.
It comes as studies from St Giles Trust and the Evening Standard have found strong links between school exclusion and involvement in crime.
Ahead of the violent crime summit on Friday, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said that “every young person deserves to grow up and fulfil their potential” and that “every family and neighbourhood deserves to feel safe.
Mr Malthouse said: “We all have a responsibility to act and that is why the Government is taking action to tackle the drivers of crime, divert young people at risk of violence or exploitation, get weapons off our streets and deliver swift justice to criminals.
“To succeed it needs agencies working together at national and local level to help give our young people a safe summer.”
A special investigation from the Evening Standard this week revealed that “two or three headteachers a month” from primary schools are contacting anti-knife charities to provide mentoring for children as young as seven over knife-related incidents.
With school holidays having begun and lockdown restrictions now lifted, there will be an increased focus on policing during the summer.
Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has said that the MPS is “devoting huge resources” to minimising violence and that “the public can expect to see more officers in their local communities and on the streets”.
Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter
July 25, 2021