Frontline experts in the fight against street violence say it’s time for the government to hand over the reins to “people who know what they are talking about”, as the number of serious incidents skyrockets.
On Monday the Home Secretary Amber Rudd unveiled the government’s new £40m strategy for tackling violent crime, after denying having seen a leaked Home Office document linking the increase with police cuts.
The home secretary said changes to the drug market were largely to blame and that the government’s response would also focus on tackling drug use.
The new plan proposes to restrict the online purchase of knives, give additional powers to police to crack down on people found to be carrying acid, and establish a cross-party group to help come up with “solutions” to violent crime escalation.
The programme will also focus on community-led early intervention to prevent young people being drawn into gangs, with an £11m youth fund set up to support local projects, and £3.6m to tackle “county lines” drug distribution, which sees urban gangs use children as “couriers” to branch out into more rural areas.
But Labour criticised the plan, claiming it offers no new money or extra police officers, and many grassroots campaigners are also sceptical, saying the time for politicians to be in charge of decision-making is over.
Sheldon Thomas, the founder of Gangsline, which runs outreach programmes with young men and women involved in gang culture, said ministers should hand over strategy to those working directly with children and teens.
An ex-gang member himself, he said: “MPs should not be leading on anything at all any more.
“Don’t consult people like me at the end – come to us at the beginning. Pay us, give us the resources, and we will come up with a strategy and implement it.
“I would set up a gang prevention programme in every school in Croydon, with a young man and young woman who kids can relate to and I guarantee we could halve this problem within a year and roll it out across the country.”
He added that it was time for politicians to put people in charge “who have lived this life, who know what they are talking about. I’d be happy to work with them.”
Thomas said he had repeatedly warned politicians that violent crime among young people was set to rise. Thirteen Londoners were killed in a two-week period last month alone.
“But it should
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec