Last night’s quadruple stabbing in Camberwell has caused a ‘tidal wave of fear and concern’, says knife crime expert Elena Noel, who believes mediators now need to help broker peace deals between gangs.
Ms Noel is co-chair of the Southwark anti-knife crime forum, and has spent the last few months meeting many community and groups and parents across estates in the borough, to help them find funding and trial new ideas and tried-and-tested initiatives to combat the growing problem of gang and youth violence.
Speaking exclusively to the News in the hours after the multiple stabbing on Camberwell’s Elmington Estate in broad daylight yesterday evening, Ms Noel called on police to bring in specialist ‘restorative justice’ experts to mediate between warring groups and reduce tensions which have reached boiling point.
She said: “The continuing spate of serious violence and multiple stabbings in Peckham and Camberwell continues to leave the community and families shocked and terrified for the safety of their young people and the wider community, and has caused a tidal wave of fear and concern in Peckham, Camberwell and elsewhere in the borough.
“It seems to be open warfare on the streets. This situation cannot continue. It is not acceptable.
“Anti Knife Crime Forum members have been out on estates support giving reassurance and support to the community, and working with residents to find solutions that are sustainable and address the roots causes. This work continues.
“I will be suggesting Restorative Justice to Jon Collins CEO – Restorative Justice Council (RJC), Commissioner Cressida Dick, Borough Commander Simon Messenger and Andy Simon CEO – Capital Conflict Management who specialises in high risk and serious violence situations on the streets, that trained and experienced mediators in restorative justice in high risk situations must be brought in to manage and reduce the existing tensions that are currently existing on the streets. Peace deals must be brokered.
“Research on Restorative Justice by RJC and other academic institutions has shown it can be a highly effective approach to effectively reducing street conflicts, and effective in dealing with interpersonal issues occurring between individuals in conflict on the streets and gangs.
“I am a trained and experienced high risk restorative justice gangs mediator. I will be raising this issue with my colleagues.
“It’s been said that the escalating violence has been triggered by rival gang members goading each other on-line, leading to retaliatory violence.
“The root causes of this violence and knife crime must be addressed. Solutions have to be found.
“It’s a crisis situation and one of great urgency. Peace must be found.”
Officers were called at 5.24pm last night to reports of a stabbing outside Landor House, where four teenage boys were found with stab wounds.
Police say they arrested six males, aged between fifteen and sixteen, on suspicion of violent disorder and grievous bodily harm, and all remain in custody.
In the aftermath of the attack a Section 60 was put in place across parts of Camberwell and Walworth, and remained in force until 9.30am today.
All the victims were taken to hospitals in south London where one is in a critical condition, another is ‘serious but stable’ and the two others did not suffer serious injuries.