As a borough, Southwark can be proud of how we, as a community, pull together to prevent crime on our streets.
We have a tradition of strong partnership work between the Southwark Police, Southwark Council and other agencies, including the Mayor, involved in the Safer Southwark Partnership all working together to make our borough safer.
There are two areas of crime, however, which continue to hit the headlines and continue to cause us a great deal of concern. These are violent youth crime and gun offences. The recent violent clashes between the police and a group of young people on Burgess Park resulting in two young people being stabbed and the two separate shooting incidents in one week in Camberwell are all very worrying.
The surge in offences as we approach the summer months is always a concern for the police and the community.
The Mayor and City Hall have a role to play in working with boroughs like Southwark to help form the right partnerships to address this area of crime. The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) will be drawing up the new police and crime plan strategy that will set out the Met’s strategy for how the police will be working, with clear targets to help prevent crime across London.
The Police and Crime Committee at the Assembly will be feeding into this plan and I am keen to ensure that the priorities and suggestions for improving crime on our streets across Southwark are fed into this.
Over the next few weeks I am hoping to meet up with the new Borough Commander to hear his priorities for his officers in Southwark. I will also be attending the different Southwark Community Council meetings later in the year and writing to community groups working with young people about how they can feed into the plan. Southwark residents will be consulted on the plan and it is important to get as many people as possible to attend to the consultation meetings. I know from my work with young people and ex-gang members that there is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution to addressing youth crime and I will be pushing for a focus on outreach work with community groups close to the communities affected.
The stark reality is that the Metropolitan Police continues to face financial challenges and they will be required to make considerable changes over the next few years. We have already lost over 100 police officers from the streets of Southwark and any additional reduction will risk undermining the fight against crime and keeping our streets safe.