Tackling Crime (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
November 1, 2018
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  My question is really about the prevention aspect, and I was asking about young people excluded and the evidence that there has been and the number of reports that there have been in the papers.  In fact, in April The Telegraph reported “School exclusions fuels rising youth crime”, and then in September 2018 there was an excellent report in The Times, “Exclusion from school drives rising gang crime” and a report there that said the Home Office conducted a report linking exclusions with involvement in drug gangs.  It has not produced that report yet, so I would like to know, does the Commissioner know about this report and does she accept that there is a link, given that a study of United Kingdom (UK) prisoners found 63% of prisoners had been temporarily excluded in their lives and 42% had been permanently excluded?  I am not suggesting that exclusion is directly linked to crime, but I am just saying there is a body of evidence, with more evidence needed, to say that this is an area that surely the MPS and the Mayor should be concerned about.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Tackling Crime (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for Tackling Crime (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Cressida Dick CBE QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  I completely agree, Jennette.  I think we are very concerned about it.  Some of our small-scale, not full academic studies show a high proportion of the young people being involved in very serious violence have been or are currently excluded from school.  It seems very, very high in all the small-scale studies we have done.  There is absolutely a link, and I think most people would accept that.  I do not think - and you are not saying this - we cannot say cause and effect, and of course not everybody who is temporarily excluded from school will find themselves caught up in crime or serious violence, but it is a very important area for us.  I know the Government is taking this seriously.  I think the exclusions review has been conducted by the Secretary of State [the Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP] who has responsibility for education.  In the serious violence meetings that both the Mayor and I go to, it is very clearly on the agenda as a subject where we need to come together, understand it better and do more about it. 


For us, we are, as you know, investing in Schools Officers, but not just Schools Officers.  We are putting officers into Pupil Referral Units and we are working in our partnerships locally with the Youth Offending Teams and others and the schools, which are often the haven of safety for young people, to try to assist in their decision-making about exclusion or not exclusion, but also, if somebody is excluded, then what, and how do we keep track of them?


What is a bit frightening is the number of people who are not in regular school, who never return to it, who get slightly lost to our collective authorities?  That I think is not a good position. 


Jennette Arnold OBE AM:  Mr Mayor, would you like to see a copy of this Home Office report?  Will you write to see if you can get a copy of it and share it?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes, of course.  If I could just complete the picture, which is two things, I think there is a link between crime currently taking place and young people excluded, but also a link between crime currently taking place and people excluded in the past.  Obviously, we can understand why, in exceptional circumstances, an exclusion is the only option available to their teacher.  The evidence I have seen is there are some examples where schools try to keep children in the school even if they have been excluded from the classroom.  There is a school in Assembly Member Eshalomi’s patch called Dunraven, which has done really good work about keeping the children inside the school, whereas other comparable schools would have excluded them. 


The Timpson review is taking place now, led by Ed Timpson, the former Government Minister [of State for Children and Families].  Sophie Linden [Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime] has given evidence to Ed Timpson, and we are speaking to him and his team.  Of course, as soon as I get the review I will make it available to colleagues in the Assembly.