Youth knife crime was down by 39% in lockdown

Katherine Johnston (12 August, 2020)

Across London as a whole offences by under-25s were down by 41 per cent

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Knife crime offences among under-25s were down by 39 per cent during lockdown, according to council papers.

In the report made available in July, councillor Evelyn Akoto, Tooley Street’s public safety cabinet member, explained that in twelve months to May 2020 Southwark had seen a ten per cent reduction in reported knife offences, with the borough ranked fifth for the number of knife offences.

A large decrease was seen during three months of lockdown – with knife crime among under-25s down by 39 per cent and, across London as a whole, down by 41 per cent.

The report shared details of its serious youth violence panel’s work since its last meeting in 2019, saying tackling the issue needs ‘renewed focus’ in the ‘new world’ post COVID-19.

One recommendation to help drive the numbers down further has been to prevent exclusions and improve alternative education.

As the News has reported, exclusions have been rising across the borough in the last few years with leading academy chains racking up particularly high figures.

Added mental health and preventative support in the works includes the new young people’s mental health service – fast tracked to open during lockdown – and the development of a community harm and exploitation hub.

This hub will focus on case work involving gangs, county lines, exploitation, and modern slavery. Projects so far includes a pilot programme with a group of year eight parents whose children have been identified at risk.

The council is also focusing on helping to improve the relationship between young people and the police.

One strand of work involves setting up a Youth Independent Advisory Group, whose members are now being recruited, to focus on stop and search, community harm and exploitation, and ‘drug-related drivers of violence’.

Meanwhile, work to open up more community space to young people and youth groups including TRA halls has been put on hold due to social distancing.

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