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London youth on violence

Violence is the number one problem according to London young people, in their local area and in their school. That’s according to a Youth Voice Survey, by the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), received 7800 responses online from Londoners aged 11 to 16 about their experiences of policing and crime in the capital.

Around a quarter of young people know someone who has carried a knife (26pc) or who is in a gang (23pc), with smaller proportions saying they have personally carried a knife or are in a gang (both three per cent). About one in nine (12 per cent) young people have been the victim of a crime in the last year. Young victims are more likely to have a range of other vulnerabilities, including exposure to serious youth violence and wider well-being issues. Most young people do feel safe where they live (74 per cent) and at school (84 per cent). But the older they get, the less safe they tend to feel. The survey found ‘relatively high levels of under-reporting of crime’.

Youth is exposed to cyber risk, with 25 per cent reporting that they have experienced cyber bullying and 23 per cent having been sent rude or sexual content.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, said: “These findings lay bare the challenge London faces in keeping our young people safe. While it is reassuring that the majority of under-16s feel safe in the capital, many still know someone that carries a knife or is in a gang, or lacks confidence in the police.

For the survey results visit: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/youth_voice_survey_report_2018_final.pdf.

“The police recognise how important it is that they do more to build relations with all of London’s communities and, through more investment in targeted projects to get to the root causes of crime such as my Young Londoners Fund, the aim is to help make the city safer. However, neither of these is made any easier by a decade of austerity which has ripped £1billion a year from police, and starved local councils, mental health services and schools of the money so critical to rooting out the deprivation and inequality that can too often lead to crime.

“And while the police and other public agencies have a big role to play, so do communities themselves. Parents, friends, families and neighbours must also help in tackling serious youth violence. We all have a duty to send a clear and unequivocal message to all Londoners that it is totally unacceptable to carry a knife. And that there is no honour in staying silent if you know someone is carrying a knife – you are not protecting a friend of sibling, instead you are putting their life and the lives of others at risk.”

The survey also found half of young people having a good opinion of police officers, although many were yet to form a strong opinion. Almost half of young victims of crime made a report to the police (44 per cent) but less than a third of those (29 per cent) were happy with how officers dealt with their report. The survey also suggested that a known police Safer Schools Officer can benefit young people’s feelings of safety at school. Good relationships with Safer Schools Officers can also improve young people’s overall opinions of the police in general.

Polite and respectful interactions during ‘Stop and Search’ by police are vital, as poor interactions can have negative impacts on young people’s overall opinions of the police. Less than half of the young people who said they had been Stopped and Searched felt the police treated them well when carrying it out.


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