London crime prevention funding

MQT on 2017-01-18
Session date: 
January 18, 2017
Question By: 
Siân Berry
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Will your Police and Crime Plan build upon current crime prevention funding to help mitigate the effects of cuts to youth services across London?


Answer for London crime prevention funding

Answer for London crime prevention funding

Answered By: 
The Mayor

 Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you for the question.  The vast majority of children and young people are a credit to themselves, their families and their communities.  I believe that every child and young person in London should be able to grow and reach their potential, free from the danger of crime and violence.  That is why keeping children and young people safe forms part of my draft Police and Crime Plan.  The plan sets out that, in my view, effective, targeted prevention is the key to protecting children and young people, and reducing crime over a long period. 




The draft plan also emphasises the important role that the police, working with schools, health services, local authorities and others can play in early identification, assessment and targeted support to prevent young people from becoming offenders themselves.  My priority is to ensure London’s boroughs are able to respond to crime and community safety challenges and ultimately Londoners from all these boroughs have access to appropriate services.  That is why I have maintained and protected the overall London Crime Prevention Fund budget for the next four years, despite the significant fiscal challenges we face.  Boroughs were asked to submit a proposal by 23 December [2016] outlining their plans and local priorities for spend, and this has allowed boroughs to allocate spending according to the local need. 




A proportion of the London Crime Prevention Fund (LCPF) funds will be redirected into a joint pot to support sub-regional and regional commissioning.  This is because some of the most complex challenges we face in policing cannot be solved by one borough alone. 




Sian Berry AM:  Thank you for your answer.  I do not know if you have seen the report that I put out yesterday called London’s Lost Youth Services.  It looks at the latest funding figures from councils and it is quite shocking.  It does show that they have had to cut more than a third of their budgets for youth services since 2011, that they have lost hundreds of youth workers, that some of them are down to just a handful of youth centres and that they also have more cuts planned for this financial year, a further quarter of an already shrunken budget. 




This is a real crisis and it is really hard because councils are increasingly cash-strapped.  The duty they have, the precise duty to provide youth services, is not clear at all.  You have been quite clear in your strategy document so far and the Police and Crime Plan draft that prevention is key to protecting young people and reducing crime over the long term.  Are you worried that these cut-backs in local council services that help young people live better lives and keep them away from crime, are going to risk your wider goals for crime prevention?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I recognise the huge cuts facing local authorities is a consequence of central Government cuts.  We are one of the most centralised countries in the Western world, because local authorities get a significant amount of their budget from central Government.  Clearly, when there are cuts made from central Government, it has a knock-on impact on services councils can provide.  One of the reasons why I am keen to have this funding available for councils to bid for is - you are right - prevention is better than cure. 




The cost of somebody being arrested, charged and prosecuted is so high compared to providing decent facilities to give young people something constructive to do, rather than the price we pay; but that is just the economics.  Think about the social and human waste.




Sian Berry AM:  That is really good.  I really want to have a discussion, though, about what you see as your strategic role in London.  Boroughs do have this problem.  You do have the London Crime Prevention Fund and the existence of that fund in itself does admit that there is some kind of obligation on you to mitigate this problem.  Will you be talking to boroughs about practical ways you might help them, maybe by boosting that fund?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I always talk to London Councils about how they can spend the precious resources they have, to help their constituents, my constituents, but also to see how we can work together to save monies.  Of course I will talk to them because the reality is that young people get a bad name for a small minority acting badly.  The vast majority, as I said in my answer, are a credit to themselves and we are going to do all we can to help all of them fulfil their potential.




Sian Berry AM:  During the mayoral campaign, like me, you did sign up to the Invest in Youth Work Pledge, which was written by young people, supported by the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and and signed by 41,000 young people.  In that pledge, we both promised to meet with the campaign if you were elected Mayor.  Will you meet them now and talk to them about practical things you can do to help youth services in London?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I would be happy to. 




Sian Berry AM:  Great.  Thank you.




Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  Thank you very much.