Victims of Crime (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
March 8, 2012
Question By: 
James Cleverly
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 


James Cleverly (AM): Following up from Victoria's questions about particularly young victims of crime and their confidence in policing, and I do not want to go crashing into one of the issues we have later on, but we are going to be touching a little bit on disproportionality. From memory, from the feedback we get from the sectors of the community who are least confident interacting with the police, the young tend to be less confident than the older generation. Black and other ethnic minorities tend to be less confident than the white population. Specifically with young, potentially black victims of crime. Can you give us any details about what lessons are going to be drawn across from Trident to ensure that they specifically feel confident about reporting crimes when they are the victims of crime, and if there is external pressure that we can put on to ensure that that becomes a really slick part of the business?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Victims of Crime (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Victims of Crime (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 

Kit Malthouse (Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime): I am not the expert on Trident, you understand. It is a very longstanding pattern of work. As I understand it, the problem that Trident was faced with was that there would be a series of shootings in public, during the day, in front of lots of people, and no one would come forward as a witness because they were basically scared. What that operation did over time was win the confidence of an entire community in London, to the extent that they would co-operate. They gave them channels by which they could communicate covertly, and gave them confidence that when they did communicate or indeed stand witness, they could be protected. Over time that resulted in something like, I think, a 90% reduction in gun crime in that particular community.

There is that to do, but there is a primary hurdle we have to get over first, which is common to all young people, which is the relationship between them and the police. In large part, it is not a happy one. If we can breach that divide by all manner of ways, not least things like the police cadets, which, as you know, are very mixed and have a very high proportion of black and minority ethnic groups representing the police cadets, who will talk to their friends. If we can get the Safer Neighbourhood Teams interacting with young people in a better, more productive way on the ground, if we can promote some of those role play exercises where young people and officers swap roles and conduct stop and search, and fundamentally, if we can prevail upon officers to realise - or those few officers who are offending - that they have to take the lead in starting a more civilised conversation with young people when they encounter them on the street, I think we will make some progress.

Having said that, we are fighting against quite a pernicious culture on the other side. Gang culture in particular is one that relies entirely on fear for keeping people in, and is one that, as we have seen around the world, protects itself ferociously with extreme violence at times, and that will be quite a hurdle to get over.

James Cleverly (AM): One of the things I feel very strongly about - in terms of not specifically gang crime, but a whole load of things around the policing of young people - is that normalising the relationship between police officers and PCSOs and young people is really, really important. I would be very, very keen, either directly or indirectly, for the Trident unit to encourage officers to regularly go into schools, even schools which claim that they do not have a problem and do not need police officers visiting them, because you do not want it to be a stigmatising mark that police officers are coming into your school.

Kit Malthouse (Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime): No, I completely agree with that. The MPS has done quite a lot of engagement in schools. I went to a school in Lewisham where the Central Operations Specialist Firearms Command (SO19) and Trident were doing exactly that, and they had gone in with a drama workshop that was running Boy X. Do you remember Boy X? Did any of you see Boy X?

Tony Arbour (AM): Yes, I have seen it.

Kit Malthouse (Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime): Did you see Boy X? Boy X was quite a powerful drama that was doing the rounds at schools about a gang killing, effectively a youth stabbing. They were touring with that around schools. I think there is work to do there, albeit the really difficult cases we need to engage with are not generally, sadly, in schools.