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Sadiq Khan says rise in youth crime linked to poverty

Sadiq Khan has announced funding for 43 new projects to support young people (Credit: City Hall)

The Mayor of London says there is a clear connection between the rise in serious youth violence (SYV) in the capital and social inequality, which he claims has been caused by the government’s austerity measures. 

His announcement follows new research, published by City Hall, which has revealed there was a 71% increase in SYV victims from 2012/13 to 2017/18. Newham and Tower Hamlets were among the top ten boroughs for police recorded SYV victims while Havering and Redbridge were in the top 20 during 2018.  

Three-quarters of London boroughs with the highest levels of violence were also shown to be in the top 10 most deprived. 

Sadiq Khan said in a speech today he wants to tackle crime and the causes behind it.

“There’s never any excuse for criminality,” he said. 

“But we have to face the reality that for some young people growing up today, violence has become normalised.

“With hope at rock bottom, inequality higher than ever and an absence of positive opportunities; turning to crime and gangs has become an all too easy route to satisfy the lure of gaining respect and money – however misguided this is.”

The Mayor of London has called for a national plan to tackle the causes of crime (Credit: @SadiqKhan)

He claimed there is a need for a long term strategy to prevent crime by funding after-school activities, reducing school exclusions, and training youth workers. 

The Mayor has also announced a £360,000 investment to fund 43 projects that will support 3,500 young people at risk of getting involved in crime.

This will come from his Young Londoners Fund which has previously spent more than £20 million on activities for 66,000 young Londoners. You can local activities using this interactive map. 

He also defended the use of police tactics, such as Stop and Search, which he says have successfully driven down crime in the short term. 

But, he called on the government to match his commitment, saying a proper national strategy was needed to tackle the issue. The Mayor blamed the government for implementing nine years of austerity measures which he says have led to the soaring crime rates. 

“The sad reality is the violence we’re seeing on our streets today is an appalling side-effect of increasing inequality and alienation caused by years of government austerity and neglect.

“The lesson we must all learn is that you can’t cut police officers, public services, preventative measures and ignore the most vulnerable people in our country at the same time as keeping crime low.”  

This was supported by the Leader of Redbridge Council, Jas Athwal, who said: “Local council services are key to the public health approach to tackling this issue, but we’re operating in a context where boroughs have suffered a 63 per cent reduction in core government funding since 2010.

“It’s crucial that London receives the resources it needs to address serious youth violence and keep Londoners safe.”

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