Death toll on your conscience Mr Mayor?

On knife crime, you must and you CAN do more Mr Mayor.

As I write this, sixty young people have lost their lives this year. Sixty families grieving. This cannot go on.

As the previous Deputy Mayor of London, I saw at first-hand how you can tackle this problem.  When Boris was Mayor he inherited a murder rate of over 21 young people a year (2008) from Ken Livingstone. We saw this figure as too many – one is too many in my eyes, although at the time our murder rate for was lower than New York. Kit Malthouse, now an MP in the House of Commons had the job of tackling this head on, yet at every weekly team meeting there was intense scrutiny from the Mayor and his support team on tackling youth violence. By working across parties, across all London boroughs, Kit established community networks and joint engagement teams. As a result, he reduced this terrible death toll.

We cannot expect the police to be social workers. As they say in the African proverb, it takes a village to raise a child – in fact it takes an entire community of different people to engage with young people in order for them to experience and grow in a safe environment. Thus we need that same joined up thinking now – the Joint Engagement Teams I experienced at City Hall worked with the boroughs, the police, all the emergency services, the schools and the local community.  The police know where the hot spots are, they usually know when the criminal activities take place, so they can identify the likely crime spikes and resource accordingly.  The police must identify the most harmful gang members and can give them a stark choice – leave that lifestyle and relentlessly enforce the law for those who continue to offend.

I have been out with our local Met Police teams in North Kensington and in the community – they know their patch, they know every young person walking the streets and more importantly when they don’t know them – where have they come from?   We must not forget the vital role of those officers who actually know their communities, and who know what is going on. We must allow them to do their jobs.

However, what are the other parts of the community doing to help?   Evidence showed that on the days that there was after-school sports or other activities on offer then crime was reduced.  Keep our school facilities and sports facilities open longer, late into the evening, not for our teachers to work longer but for youth organisations to run. The main cost for many youth organisations in Central London is their premises. Well we have premises – they are called schools, but through inflexible health and safety regulations, these are often locked and barred, just when they could provide a safe space for our youngsters.  We need to link our young people into the local “YOU” organisations – the cadets – the army cadets, the police cadets, air cadets, fire cadets, the Scouts, the Boys Brigade and all the rest – these organisations are there providing that week-in-week-out support that can be missing in young people’s lives, they provide the structure, the role models and the range of activities, and most of all they support each other and generate pride and a sense of achievement. Put simply, for a young man to raise a knife or gun to another is a failure for all of society and every single one of us needs to look at why that is. Anyone who has been involved with these volunteer groups knows that they attract young people from across all communities, faiths and income.  Social Services has been known to fund placements for young people at risk, as they know the support that they will receive.   Locally our young police cadets in Kensington took over 80 people on holiday last summer – after the Grenfell fire, they were united through positive action from their local community – keeping young people safe and protected at the most vulnerable time in their lives.

Many brave families have worked so hard to help young people and give them support and we must learn lessons from them too – the Kinsella Family, the Mizen family come to mind, but there are many more who have taken positive action in their local communities to stop young people dying.

Words are cheap – as Sadiq Khan approaches the end of his first term in office, he needs to do more than talk or pass the blame onto others. He has the responsibility in London to sort this mess out and must get an urgent grip and use his power and influence to keep our young people safe.

It was never nice in my role as Deputy Mayor to attend funerals, anniversary events or memorial services – too many times have I stood side by side next to grieving family members and sobbed quietly into my handkerchief. I cried at the unnecessary loss of life. I cried at the future plans these young people had to travel, to carve out a career, for marriage, for children and grandchildren that were over before they had even begun. I cried for the families who thought that their children were safe in our city.

No more deaths Mr. Mayor. No more deaths.

Community Tea Party

Over three hundred older people participated in the Community Tea event, supported by over forty different organisations. The event was held in the Council’s Great Hall and coordinated by the Kensington and Chelsea Forum for Older Residents.

View Gallery

First year anniversary of Grenfell Tower

As we commemorate the first anniversary of the tragedy of Grenfell I am pleased that the Prime Minister has publicly confirmed the Government’s ongoing support for all those affected by this tragedy.

This article from the Prime Minister appeared in the Evening Standard:

www.standard.co.uk

The Prime Minister outlines her Brexit approach

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister
The Sunday Times
Sunday 13th May 2018

Trust me, I’ll take back control — but I’ll need your help

Amid all the noisy debate and technical discussions about our departure from the European Union, I want to take this opportunity to remind the British public of my mission in the negotiations. Brexit provides the opportunity to build a new relationship with the EU where we are close trading partners and strong allies but with the British government in control of our laws, our immigration policy and how taxpayers’ money is spent.

Read more…

Windrush settlers

As an MP much of my time was spent in debates in Parliament or immersed in casework, but there was also the opportunity of dipping into the fantastic library in the House of Commons, I therefore had time to read several accounts of our Windrush arrivals, and those that preceded them – I particularly enjoyed the Trevor Phillips book where he interviewed and followed the lives of many individuals and their experiences.

Read more…

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Death toll on your conscience Mr Mayor?

On knife crime, you must and you CAN do more Mr Mayor.

As I write this, sixty young people have lost their lives this year. Sixty families grieving. This cannot go on.

As the previous Deputy Mayor of London, I saw at first-hand how you can tackle this problem. When Boris was Mayor he inherited a murder rate of over 21 young people a year (2008) from Ken Livingstone.

Read more…

Broadband in Kensington

Meeting with the Minister to discuss the urgent need to improve Broadband access in Kensington.

Local meeting was held at the Town Hall with Councillors, Openreach team from BT and Tony Devenish from the GLA. All residents urgently need good broadband. Cllr Matthew Palmer also led a resident meeting to improve these services with representatives from BT.

Read more…

Notting Hill Carnival

Significant changes must be made, to improve this event, which drew in a million people this year.

Click here to see more about the Notting Hill Carnival.

Grenfell Tower

I am absolutely devastated by this dreadful fire, as we all are. I have visited the local voluntary centres on a number of occasions in order to help as I know have many of you. The community’s response has been amazing.

Read more…

Air Quality

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