03 April 2012

Ken pledges to tackle gangs on visit to Myatts Field in Vassall Ward

Ken Livingstone today set out serious new measures to tackle gangs and serious crime in London, during a visit to the Myatt’s Field estate in Lambeth's Vassall Ward today.

Ken’s plans include driving forward the community-led commissioning approach being pioneered in Lambeth, where Pastor Mimi Asher has helped over 80 local young people turn their back on gang culture, with her work to set up a range of positive activities for young people on the estate.

Ken met Pastor Mimi Asher and some of the young people she works with during his Lambeth ‘Tell Ken’ visit last July and returned to the estate today, to set out his policies for tackling gangs in the capital. If elected in May, Ken will:

1. Learn from successful gang mediation projects – Working with the Met to learn from the Brathay and Ceasefire projects and successful initiatives in Strathclyde, where trained anti-

gang co-ordinators work in ‘at risk’ neighbourhoods, along with ‘mediation projects’ to de-escalate conflicts within and between neighbourhood.

2. Adopt an ‘early intervention’ approach that helps adolescents find alternatives to gang culture before they are drawn in

3. Drive change from the bottom up, putting communities in charge of finding the solution that work best in their area –Learning from the Lambeth example, Ken will provide

funding for twenty pilot projects that will put residents in control, mobilising and building community resources in the fight against serious violent crime.

4. Fight to protect children and young people from the ravages of growing up in poverty – Ken will reinstate the London Child Poverty Commission and Annual State of

London’s Children Report, and monitor the impact of changes to housing benefit caps and the introduction of the universal benefits cap, to inform discussion about how to prevent negative impacts on children and families.

Ken Livingstone said:

“Gang crime has scarred communities across the capital, snatched potential away from young people, and put simply, ruined lives. The Conservative Mayor’s broken promises and failure to act mean that last year there were over 1,000 more young victims of knife crime than at the beginning of his mayoralty.

“I believe young Londoners deserve better. Through developing partnerships between London government, the police, local communities and young people, and by learning from what is proven to work, such as Pastor Mimi Asher’s work, we can begin to win the fight against gang culture.”

Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council said:

“Mimi Asher has shown us the dramatic difference a community can make in reducing gang crime. Communities know the young people who are getting into trouble, and they know what needs to happen to steer young lives back on track. Lambeth’s new youth services trust puts communities in control of council funding, buildings and staff so they can fight the problem instead of wasting their energy fighting the system when it refuses to listen. It’s great that Ken wants to extend this radical new approach across London.”