Young People (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
December 10, 2003
Question By: 
Graham Tope
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
Toby Harris

Question

Graham Tope (AM): I did want to concentrate today on young people as victims of crime. Every London borough has amongst its top three priorities dealing with anti-social behaviour and whilst that is a priority in every borough it does tend to reinforce the stereotype, the image of young people as the perpetrators and as the problem and does not adequately recognise that more often they are the victims.

In terms of talking and working with young people, one of the objectives in the MPS youth strategy is to provide an environment for young people who are victims or witnesses to feel confident about reporting crime and disorder. Can someone update us as to how that is being implemented and what progress is being made?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Young People (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for Young People (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 
Toby Harris

Toby Harris, Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority: In part this is about improving the confidence of young people in the police service, the initiatives in terms of police in schools, and the increase in the number of school beat officers in schools in which they work (the numbers there are growing on an almost weekly basis as new boroughs seek to adopt the Safer Schools Partnership). This is not about simply enforcing discipline within schools; this is about creating environments in which young people recognise that the police service is there for them. One of the tragic issues that emerged from the investigation into the murder of Damilola Taylor was the existence of substantial numbers of young people, often very young, who felt that no-one in authority was ever prepared to take any notice of their concerns or their fears. So that if they reported bullying or intimidation, teachers found it easier not to deal with it, their parents often were not concerned, and the police did not take any notice of it. Reversing that is extremely important.

Many education authorities have encouraged schools to adopt good quality anti-bullying policies. The presence of the Police in Schools initiative is part of the process of ensuring that you re-establish that confidence. There are plenty of other initiatives that have specifically been established around London. On Monday I heard about a DVD being developed by the Crossroads Youth Project in Harrow, where the aim is to encourage young people to speak out and to create mechanisms in which that can happen. That is similar to other projects which exist elsewhere in London, for instance the Carrot Scheme in Southwark. All of these schemes are designed both to enable young people to be heard, to divert them from crime and to engage them with purposeful activity.

Graham Tope (AM): I think all of us here recognise and understand the problem and some of the things that ought to be done about it. I am pressing to find out exactly what is being done. Toby has mentioned a number of schemes including the Carrot Scheme in Southwark. What is done to disseminate good practice where it exists and what is done to address these issues where they are not being adequately addressed, which is actually probably most of London?

Toby Harris, Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority: The Safer Schools Partnership and the Police in Schools initiative are now being extended throughout most of the MPA. I think we are talking about 15 Safer Streets boroughs already and another 14 boroughs following on from that. At every one of the visits that I make to meet CDRPs (Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships) I ask about arrangements in terms of listening to young people on these diversion schemes. In fact most boroughs are able to report " with one or two exceptions which I will not name and shame on this occasion, but I am always happy to " by and large that they have a number of projects in train.

As you know, within territorial policing there is a substantial system for disseminating good practice, supporting borough commanders and enabling them to carry out work in a variety of different fields, and all that will happen as part of this programme. The Commissioner may want to add to that.

Sir John Stevens (Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I really have nothing to add to that, Chair.