Serious Youth Violence - Parents'/Carers' Advice (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
July 19, 2018
Question By: 
Unmesh Desai
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Unmesh Desai AM:  Mr Mayor, we do know that there are common factors which are present in the lives of young people committing serious violence.  School exclusions, for instance.  Is MOPAC doing anything specifically to develop an understanding of these common factors?


Answer for Serious Youth Violence - Parents'/Carers' Advice (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Serious Youth Violence - Parents'/Carers' Advice (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  On exclusions in particular, Sophie Linden, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, met with the head of the academies this week to discuss this issue.  You will be aware, Unmesh, that actually one of the concerns that boroughs have is the lack of accountability with schools in their borough.  Previously, with local management of schools, a borough would know what is happening in different schools and could make sure exclusions were consistent.  There is a real concern now in some schools excluding children because it affects exam tables and because it affects other factors, and then they go to Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), but they are not really going to the PRUs, and it can lead to all sorts of other issues.  You and I have both met too many people involved in criminality who at some stage were excluded.  At this week’s Serious Violent Crime Taskforce meeting chaired by the Home Secretary, I made the point that there needs to be a policy around exclusions.  Edward Timpson [CBE, former Minister of State for Children and Families], the former MP, is doing a review in relation to exclusions.  I have written to him and I am due to meet with him to express my concern about exclusions leading to young people not having constructive things to do, which can lead to them getting involved in crime.  That is just one factor.  There are other factors as well, as you know. 


Unmesh Desai AM:  Indeed.  Just to carry on, Mr Mayor, at the Knife Crime Summit on 27 June [2018] MOPAC’s Head of Insight told us that victims and offenders of violent crime overlap and that these people usually come into contact with a range of services before they commit a serious offence.  This obviously gives the public sector a number of opportunities to intervene and make a positive difference to that young person’s life.  How can we make the most of these interactions?  What more can be done to turn around the lives of young people who are at risk of committing violent crime?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  There is this statistical evidence that shows that a large number of those who are victims of crime sometimes later on get involved in being arrested for criminality, so you are right.  If we can at an early stage work with people to turn them around, it makes a big difference.  That is one of the reasons why we have invested this year more money in youth workers in trauma centres, in accident and emergencies (A&Es).  It is that teachable moment.  We are doing work with St Giles Trust, Redthread and many others to make sure we help victims, to provide them with the support and the assistance they need, so later on, God forbid, there is no reprisal or them getting involved in criminality. 


The context, though, is that over the last few years we have seen a huge cut in preventative services, a huge cut in diversionary services, from youth work, mental health services, wraparound care, and other services that we know local authorities provided and the third sector provided as well.  One of the reasons that I have diverted money from business rates to a new Young Londoners Fund is to invest in prevention and diversion, and at the same time investing £140 million in enforcement as well.  It focuses on all three: enforcement, prevention and diversion as well. 


Unmesh Desai AM:  Thank you.