Wednesday, 27 July 2011

White Mentoring program for Black boys

Boris Johnson left and right Paul Lawrence

Paul Lawrence is the founder of a leading life skills training consultancy. Born in London, but raised in Jamaica Paul has a unique perspective on underachievement among our black boys and firmly believes the UK education system has much to answer for. His life skills courses are designed to provide a leg up not just for those who fail academically, but to strengthen the prospects of those who find their academic qualifications are often undervalued purely due to their race. Paul was a part of a black bidding consortium for the Mayor of London’s mentor scheme.

Mayor ensures a £1.3m contract is awarded to a charity he is Patron, fails to declare his interest and unfairly discriminates against black businesses.
On July 20, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson launched The Mayor’s Mentoring Scheme. Speaking outside the Epicentre in Leyton, the Mayor told Londoners:
"Through no fault of their own there are some young boys in our city in desperate need of a strong, male role model. I want my scheme to reach out to those who may fall prey to the lure of gangs and violence and place them with positive, hard-working males who can help guide them,”
....“the influence of a positive role model can be immeasurable and I'd like to thank all the outstanding volunteers who have come forward and encourage even more people to get on board."
Now I, for one, welcomed the idea of a ‘Mayor Mentor Scheme’. So much so that I ensured my organisation formed part of the consortium that bid for, and was successful in, training the volunteers in mentoring skills – (I’ll tell you about that later)!

I believed that the idea of 1000 black mentors for 1000 black boys would provide a much needed resource for black youths in London and would represent a financial shot in the arm for hard pressed groups already delivering frontline services.  

I publicly applauded Boris Johnson for his intention to deliver the scheme and for his choice of Ray Lewis as Mayor’s Mentoring Ambassador to lead his flagship project.

Add to this the inclusion of football legend Ian Wright, and the fact that 1700 people have already signed up as volunteers, you would think that this would be a ‘good news’ day for black Londoners and for community groups working with at-risk black youths... that is until you get to the sticky issue of who has won the contract for delivering the scheme.

So is it an established organisation with a proven track record of working with black gangs and disaffected youth in the community? You would think so, wouldn’t you, but no; the Mayor has awarded the Greater London Authority mentoring contract of £1.3m to the University of East London (UEL) and London Action Trust (LAT), neither of whom has any extensive track record of working with black gangs or the black community in general in London.

Further, and more worryingly, Boris Johnson is Patron of the London Action Trust (LAT) sitting on the board alongside old friends such as Nick Griffin (same name different guy) the Mayoral Advisor on Budgets & Performance alongside Conservative Steve Norris who is also, by happy coincidence, Chair of Ray Lewis’ East Side Academy.

Also sitting on both the LAT and East Side Academy boards is Fitzroy Andrew.

Now, as far as I understand it - and I am happy to be corrected – isn’t the Mayor of London duty bound to declare an interest as patron of London Action Trust? Especially when £1.3m of public money is heading their way? So just to be sure that I had my facts right, I checked the Mayor’s Register of interests and found that he has made no declaration regarding London Action Trust. I also checked with LAT who confirmed in writing that Boris Johnson is still their Patron. The Mayor - who came into power promising crystal clear transparency - seems to have failed to comply with the GLA rules relating to declarations of interest.

Here is what the GLA says on this matter

The Mayor of London is required to declare personal interests in the Standing Register of Interests. He/she must register these details with the GLA's Monitoring Officer within 28 days of the commencement of his/her term of office, and must submit an updated notification within 28 days of becoming aware of any change. The Mayor has stated that the Register of Interests for Mayoral appointments will also be published in his promotion of openness and transparency.”

Leaving that to one side for a moment, the question of the suitability of the chosen contractors to deliver is a key issue. As a member of the consortium of black-led organisations that by all accounts gained the highest marks in the tender process, I was obviously keen to establish the facts. My eyes have been opened to a catalogue of questionable practices and major discrepancies in the Mayor’s tender procurement process. The official record of this process is published on the Mayor’s web site.

I checked the UEL and LAT web sites to see if either had a track record in relation to community mentoring of black boys involved n (or at risk of) serious youth violence. There was no mention anywhere of them having doing any work in this area. I then asked around and found that no organisations working on the front line of mentoring schemes have heard of either of these two organisations doing any work in the field.

So how could they have won such a huge contract especially when bidding in direct competition with experienced black providers – the same providers (us) who had been commissioned by the GLA to train the volunteers in mentoring skills – essentially, equipping them with the tools to undertake the challenging interventions required to ensure that these young black boys conceive and feel able to achieve their potential.

Our consortium was made up of top black led organisations (100 Black Men of London, Freeman Oliver, Life Skills Training Consultancy and Foundation for Life – all of whom have significant, proven and successful experience in the field of mentoring and talent management.

Our mentoring training was deemed unanimously as a success by the 200 volunteers we trained and we were also applauded for our ‘innovative approach and hard-hitting impact’ by the commissioning officers. Since the decision to award the contract to white mainstream organisations, we have been contacted by a significant number of the volunteers, many of them stating their concern that “a top class, black led consortium” has been ruled out from managing the remainder of the programme.

So maybe I was being naive – but I genuinely thought that the contract would go to one of the two black led consortia that bid for the work. And this is not based on a simple argument of ‘because we’re black we should deliver it’. It is premised on the obvious assumption that to get the outcomes required, it is important that the provider(s) have experience of working with black young people involved in, or at risk of serious youth violence. These organisations are best placed to deliver the type of scheme likely to resonate with the ‘hard knock’ black boys the Mayor is seeking to target.

Add to that, the fact that Boris Johnson fully accepted the Mayor’s Expert Advisory Group on youth violence (MEAG) recommendation that the Mentor contract should go to a proven contractor with relevant experience, community credibility and a demonstrable track record of working with gang members and black boys. Additionally, the Mayor’s office held several community meetings where Boris and his team repeatedly assured the community that they understood the importance of the programme needing to be delivered by grass-roots organisations to ensure credibility and thus, community co-operation.

The MEAG is disarray with the resignation today of one its leading members, Mr Viv Ahmun widely regarded as one the most strategic and effective black men working in the field of youth violence. In his resignation letter Mr Ahmun cites the Mayors lack of effective leadership. He writes

“Unfortunately I have seen little in the way of leadership from you in regards to this issue over the last 10 months despite my repeated emails, and points raised at our monthly MEAG meetings with you regarding my concerns.

Turning to the Mayors mentoring and confirming his clear understanding that the was Mayor fully committed to ensuring a black led mentor scheme he adds,

“ The London mentoring scheme, when initially launched over a year ago, had no scope to it whatsoever. Consequently, it’s development was supported by my colleagues and I alongside your officers, to ensure that for once a provision intended to meet the needs of black communities and more specifically, young black men at risk, would be led by a group with all the skills and capacity necessary to deliver a quality service. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to you, the contract was awarded to a partnership led by two organisations that, even when joined together, could not provide the credibility, capacity and competence needed to deliver the service. “
This represents a massive blow for the Mayor. Mr Ahmun will be a significant loss of support for the Mayor and will impact significantly on the Mayors attempt to engage with the black  men community.

So what happened?

Reading through the Mayor’s document (see his website) it is clear that the original tender decision panel was made up of GLA officers, Ron Belgrave and Lizzie Noel, and the Mayor’s mentor champion, Ray Lewis. They sat alone on the 26th May and shortlisted four bids from a total of 10. These bids were from two major black led consortiums and UEL and LAT (both of whom I am led to believe bid separately).

Next all four bidders were invited to a second interview. This is where things get interesting because the original panel was at this stage expanded to include Edward Lister, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and Helen Keenan, his Director of Health and Communities.

It is our understanding that the same tender panel is supposed to sit throughout the entire process from beginning to end. So what reason could there be, for what could be seen as a direct intervention by the Mayor’s Office? We believe this breaks the GLA own procurement rules? And if not unlawful it is most certainly contrary to normal procurement practice.

In addition to this, according to the Mayor’s report (quoted below) it seems that after ‘fresh insight’ provided by the Mayor’s office the tender panel was then asked to ‘revise’ the bids ‘based on the additional information’ given by the Mayor’s heavyweights.

The Mayors report reads:

1.8.8 The second round of interviews were held at City Hall on 15 June and were attended by the decision panel. In addition, Edward Lister, Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor, and Helen Keenan, Assistant Director, Health and Communities attended to provide fresh insight in terms of the questions asked and answers received.

1.8.9 The three members of the Decision Panel were then asked to revise their original scores  for the four shortlisted bids, based on the additional information gathered from the process described above.  This process again did not prove conclusive as three of the bids scored highly and were considered by the majority of the panel to be too closely matched to make a final decision.

This smacks of gross political interference in the procurement process by the Mayor’s Office. Why was the tender panel asked to revise their original scores in the first place? And when the second interview scores were counted nothing changed because, I am reliably informed, the black consortiums still outscored the UEL and LAT bids leaving them third and fourth respectively.

According to the Mayor’s report the black consortiums were knocked out after ‘due diligence was done’. This is inconsistent with the Mayors own report, which states that the tender panel had already had the due diligence information prior to the second interviews and the black consortium bids still came first and second. 

In any event the London Action Trust does not appear in good financial shape. Checking on the Charity Commission website regarding London Action Trust I found the following information in their accounts for 31/07/10.

Note 12, p21  of the accounts – Investments states “London Action Trust has set up a 100% owed trading subsidiary of 1 ordinary share of £1. The name of the subsidiary is Essential Consulting Limited and the principal activity of the company is to sell a range of training products to the public and private sectors.
The subsidiary company’s net assets at the 31 July 2010 amounted to an overdrawn balance of £212,115 (2009 an overdrawn balance of £209,684). The company remained dormant throughout the year it’s only transactions being to meet necessary administration costs of £2,431 which represents it’s loss for the year.

Note13, p22 of the accounts states “the amount owed by group undertakings to the parent charity represents sums due from the 100% owned subsidiary company, Essential Consulting Ltd. As indicated, in Note 12 Essential consulting Limited disclosed at the balance sheet date  a debit balance on it’s profit  loss reserve of some £212,115 which is effectively funded through the inter company account with the Parent Charity. Although the subsidiary has not traded during the year, the directors are confident that the company can be revitalized particularly in the light of the Government’s commitment to the Big Society, and Social Enterprise. The Parent Charity therefore envisages that it will gradually recover sums due from the subsidiary company in due course. However, the trustees have decided that it is prudent to provide, in the books of the Parent, against the balance in full in the current year.

The Summary income & expenditure account on p12 shows activities regarding domestic violence projects ceased form 01/04/10 following transfer to the newly set up organization Against Violence & Abuse (AVA).

A deficit of £396,443 for the current year arises in the Parent charity (2009: £147,286 surplus). This is largely due to the grant paid (£158,777) to AVA during the course of the year and provision made against the non recovery of the balance due from the subsidiary undertaking, Essential Consulting Ltd of £227,334.

So if due diligence was done for all the organisations bidding for the contract, it seems that the ‘powers-that–be’ have missed the fact that Boris Johnson’s favoured charity is in serious financial trouble and looks like its currently insolvent or likely to go bankrupt in the very near future. Furthermore, just to illustrate the extent to which this whole process has been fixed, one of the two black consortiums was backed by a multi million pound national charity making any issues related to financial resilience redundant.

The other partner cited in the UEL bid is a consultancy named ETHOS Consultancy. According to their website their staff consists of a total of two Directors, Martin Finegan & Dave Coker. 

Information on the Internet via Companies UK shows that their accounts were overdue as of 17/07/11. It also shows that Martin Finegan has been under notice of strike-off three times in the last few months (March, May & June) and that he is going through his second notice of strike-off action as a Director for another business Exit in Ltd issued 17/05/11. He is not listed as a Director of ETHOS on Companies UK.

So once again we see a complete set of double standards and a clear breach of GLA rules. How can it be that these companies with such poor track records fiscally and in terms of administration were awarded this contract when one of the black consortiums backed by a highly reputable solvent national charity was turned down?

Let me be clear. I believe that the real reason the black bids were knocked out is that the Mayor did not want a black consortium bid to win. The Mayor it seems does not trust black people. Without a proper explanation - it really is that simple. 

I also believe that the Mayor has illegally, and in flagrant breach of GLA policy and procedure, interfered with the tender process and ultimately overruled the tender panel’s initial decision. UEL and LAT initially came to the bidding process as two separate organisations, coming third and fourth respectively and the Mayor, in complete contravention of GLA procurement rules, invited them to join together and then awarded them the contract, worth nigh on £1.5 million pounds of public money, in an area in which they have no expertise or track record.

No doubt more detail will emerge over the coming months and there has been a flurry of Freedom of Information requests from concerned parties demanding answers. These include requests for the release of the sifting scores at each individual stage of the procurement process, a response to the Mayor’s undeclared interest in LAT and a copy of the Race Equality Impact Assessment as required under the Equality Act and much more detailed information relating to this tender process.

One of the black consortiums has now formally appealed against the tender decision and has submitted a race complaint against both the GLA and the Mayor’s Office. In my opinion no reputable organisation or individual should proceed with this contract or be associated with it while these very serious questions remain unanswered and a formal investigation is launched. It is very important that there is no collusion with any of the blatantly racist practices or illegality associated with this process.
No doubt the Mayor is hoping that the lure of cash will override any sense of principle and he may well be right. However the fact remains that anyone now who knowingly associates with this scheme after these accusations have been aired in the public will have serious questions to answer from the black and Londoners as a whole. In short, this is public money and no one should be above the law (not even the Mayor) in terms of ensuring fairness and equality – and especially at this time of austerity!  

So there we have it, a tale of abuse of Mayoral power. The accusations are clear: direct political interference, clear breach of rules and procedures, race discrimination and the misuse of the public purse by a Mayor who seems to be channelling public funds into the coffers of his friends and favourite organisations. Sound familiar?

I hope this letter will assist in our community getting answers to these most serious issues and that it will not be casually disregarded as “Codswallop”.

For our consortium, we are determined that a dangerous precedent is not set – and it is for this reason why we feel it important to ensure that the Mayor responds to the serious questions all Londoners will want answered. Black boys deserve better and so do all Londoners and that’s why we have released the following statement:

"We are very concerned that the Mayor of London has selected the University of East London and London Action Trust for this work even though our consortium scored the highest marks. To so blatantly breach both the procurement rules and Equality legislation the rules which has led to favoring white mainstream organisations that do not have a track record in this area leaves the Mayor open to the charge of racial bias. This clearly sends a bad signal - not least to the young black boys who are being told that to do things right and be the best they can be, is the the way forward. This is the public purse and fairness and equality is an inalienable right. We have already engaged legal advice and will ensure that justice is served".


Monday, 25 July 2011


Black Activists Rising Against Cuts. (BARAC)

Dear BARAC members

Our next Steering Group meeting is taking place on Tuesday 26th of July at 11am.

PCS London and the south east office

Douglas Houghton House, 231 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 1EH

If you wish to join the BARAC email list please email or


Zita Holbourne
Lee Jasper
Joint Chairs, BARAC UK

Twitter:!/BARACUK follow @BARACUK

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Smiley Culture: News International and the Met police

Smiley Culture: News International and the Met police [1.5217391304348]
Police outside the head quarters of News International

The phone hacking scandal and the very dubious relationships with the senior command of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)is providing a fascinating insight into the workings of the MPS. An example of how this works is demonstrated how the death in police custody of Smiley Culture aka David Emmanuel works. The first press commentary on this controversial death as reported by Wikileaks.

Martin Brunt was first to report. He is the crime reporter for Sky News .The following day the Sun’s crime reporter' Mike Sullivan revealed that Smiley “stabbed himself whilst he went to make a cup of tea”. The connection? Rupert Murdoch owns both.

How is it that these two reporters were able to report this matter? When, where, how and from whom did they get their information from?

In my view this was a blatant attempt at media management by I suspect MPS officers responsible for the investigation through its now obvious connections with News International. This is a clear example of the police using their connections to manipulate public opinion through the press.

Of course the death of Smiley Culture was always going to be controversial but the leaking of confidential information to the press profoundly upset the Emmanuel family who had no formal contact from the MPS. This left them gleaning what information they could from these press leaks from the MPS.

This is profoundly disturbing and aggravates the injury to feelings caused by the MPS lack of communication with the family. In the days following Smiley’s death no apology or formal explanation was received by the Emmanuel family from the MPS or the Metropolitan Police Authority. One would expect that when someone dies in custody one could at least expect a formal explanation and expressions of condolence and sympathy form the authorities. Such is the contempt to which the black community is now held that such a courtesy was deemed necessary.

This tale smacks of a deliberate attempt to spike mounting community concerns there were in relation to Smiley’s death.

The Black community was not fooled then and is not fooled now. Whatever the truth surrounding the death of Smiley Culture that his family should be subject to this level of contempt by the MPS is reprehensible. At a time when the family should received reassurance by the MPS on the circumstances surrounding Smiley’s death they were smearing him by trailing their unsubstantiated version of events through the media.

The MPS already has lost substantial trust with the black community. These issues in the light of the current scandal around phone hacking and police corruption alongside this new revelation will worsen that relationship. This matter should now form the basis of a complaint and be included in the those matters examined in the context of the public inquiry into these matters.

Lee Jasper

(First published at OBV

Monday, 18 July 2011

March 4 Justice 4 Demetre Fraser aka T.Dot

Starting at Gibbon Road SE15 onto Evilna Road, turn right into Peckham Rye, bear left onto Rye Lane, at the end turn right onto Peckham Hight Street, then onto Camberwell Green.  More details to follow.
Event Page:

Demetre Fraser aka T.Dot 21 years of age from London died after being visited by the West Midlands Police force on the 31st May 2011. The official version of events is that he committed suicide by jumping off a 11th floor balcony.
That is heavily disputed and undermined by the fact that neighbours heard a violent struggle and saw evidence of such on the 11th and 8th floors. Please support the Fraser family's call for justice and join this march and the FaceBook campaign page:

YouTube advert, please share far and wide.

Contact: Lee Jasper

Map shows route to starting point from Victoria, London

Demetre Fraser aka T.Dot R.I.P.
MARCH 4 JUSTICE: Saturday, August 13 · 12:00pm - 5:00pm

Thursday, 14 July 2011

For Kingsley Burrell, Smiley Culture and Demetre Fraser

Left to right: Kingsley Burrell, Demetre Fraser, Smiley Culture. R.I.P.

The Black community’s history as a people both in here the UK and the wider world can be viewed as a series of on going struggles for equality and freedom. That history is punctuated with critical moments that represent significant and important milestones in our fight for justice and equality.
The ending of slavery, the right to vote, the campaigns for the independence of former British colonies, the civil rights struggle, the ending of the colour bar, the murder of Stephen Lawrence all represent such key moments.

Of late over the last decade marching lost its meaning and with the Public inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence many Black activists simply laid down their banners and placards assuming that racism was defeated they went back to their home and families.

In 2011 the tragedy surrounding the deaths of three Black men in close succession, Smiley Culture, Kingsley Burrell and Demetre Fraser has reignited the black community’s passion for justice . Battered by the cuts and thousands of black men and women being made redundant, savage cuts to the black voluntary sector has left us dazed but determined to fight back.

Whilst the twin headed hydra of crime and poverty has unleashed a bloody war among our young people.
Despite this there is something moving within the black community, and I have never seen such anger and outrage. Packed public meetings and passionate demands for justice are the canary’s in the coal mine. Largely unnoticed by the mainstream politicians and the press the black community is returning to its campaigning roots. There is a feeling in the air that compels us to march for justice.

Tired of the constant attack on our culture ,exhausted by the state mis-education of our children, desperate to secure our children’s future, against a backdrop of our communities slipping silently into a social abyss as a result of consecutive Governments neglect, we are now awaking from our slumber to take to the streets.
Saturday 2nd July 2011 the city of Birmingham saw unprecedented scenes as the city that is now the black deaths in custody capital of the UK came to a standstill. Over 1000 people gathered from around the country to march in support of the Kingsley Burrell Campaign for Justice. Kingsley died after being forcibly arrested by the West Midlands Police earlier this year.

The march was vibrant and dynamic. We were led by a sound system pumping out revolutionary reggae anthems. There were families with children and a broad range of campaigns representing a number of Asian and white communities who joined the march in solidarity. It was a fatalistic sight made more glorious by the wonderful sunshine and the myriad of red, green and gold banners and flags.

We made our way from Hockley, Kingsley’s family home to the HQ of the West Midlands Police in the centre of town. Half way through the march the Sikh Gudwara on Soho Road in a touching gesture of solidarity provided refreshment to the marchers as we passed their temple.
When the police started to try and kettle our march we immediately sat down and occupied the road determined to stay there until the police backed off. They did so and we continued with our march.
We brought Birmingham came to a complete standstill as we marched and chanted for justice. There were speeches at the HQ of the West Midland Police from all the family campaigns who spoke eloquently and with a searing pain that left and indelible mark on all who heard their testimony.

We committed ourselves to the long hard road to justice recognizing the challenge and the difficulty we were no less inspired. We have had virtually no real press coverage of this hugely successful march the media black out was almost total. But go and look on Facebbok to witness what happened for yourself and what you will see will amaze you.

The Black community now sees itself self in a fight for its very survival. Saturday we marched for justice and tomorrow we march for peace aimed at stopping the madness of youth violence. We march today in order to secure our future.
As the mother of Demetre Fraser told the marchers at the rally,
“I looked at the papers when Kingsley died and I felt for his mother. I put the paper down and decided to do nothing about it. Yesterday its was Kingsley, before that Smiley today it's Demetre and I am that mother. Tomorrow it could be you”

Why are we marching again? Because justice demands it, our history dictates we must, it’s in our political DNA and our future that we do so. The mainstream press and politicians don’t get it but they never do. The marching season is back in fashion and poor black and white communities are taking to the streets demanding justice.

For Kingsley Burrell, Smiley Culture and Demetre Fraser [2.7391304347826]
Protestors marching for justice in Birmingham on the 2nd July 2011.

Lee Jasper

(First published at OBV: the home of black politics )

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Day Of Action Against Violence: Because All Life is Sacred


CAN Mezzanine
49-51 East Road
N1 6AH
                                                                                                                Date: 13/7/11

A Day of Action Against Violence: Because All Life is Sacred
SACYRD is a new campaigning organisation; a social enterprise company with charitable objectives founded in 2010. Our name stands for Strategic Alliance of Communities Rejecting Youth Destruction.
Who we are and what are our aims?
SACRYD is made up of people and organisations from the voluntary, faith and private sectors, including parents, young people, local Government and health organisations, all of whom are committed to tackling violence with a focus on knife, gun and violent crime in our communities.  SACRYD is supported by organisations such as The Black Police Association, The Damilola Taylor Trust, The Peace Alliance, Eastside Academy.
All of those involved in SACRYD recognise the need for a dynamic campaigning advocate self-empowerment organisation that can advocate and champion the need for the urgent adoption of a strategic preventative public health approach to reducing violence.
Put simply a public health approach to violence seeks to treat the problem of violence as a social disease focussing on, prevention, early intervention, public awareness and treatment and rehabilitation.
We are particularly concerned with the escalation of youth violence that we see as stemming from the wider levels of violence prevalent in the UK.
Violent children are often themselves brought up in violent families who tend to live in violent communities. However we believe that you cannot tackle particular aspects of violence, for example youth violence, domestic violence racist violence in isolation from the general incidence of violence in communities.
SACYRD policy position is that we can effectively reduce levels of serious violence through demanding the adoption of a community led, preventative public health policy in poor and disadvantaged communities.
Our primary objectives are to raise the level of awareness, of both politician’s and the wider community of the proven and tangible benefits of adopting a preventive public health approach. In addition to advocating and driving the political empowerment of local disenfranchised communities in taking the lead in owning and responding to the problem of violence.
Black communities feel completely disempowered in the fight against violent crime.
This is a fundamental and critical error of approach. Black communities must take the lead in tackling violence and hold agencies to account.
This requires communities to organise themselves into robust local consortiums that can act as a vehicle and offer a platform for a range of community led interventions. 
Central to the self-empowerment of communities is ethical principled leadership and clarity of objectives. A public health approach recognises the primacy of communities in any sustainable attempt to reduce violence.
A new approach to reducing violence: Public Health
A public health approach to violence prevention seeks to improve the health and safety of all by addressing underlying risk factors that increase the likelihood that poor communities will be more likely to become either victim’s or perpetrator’s of violence.
By definition, public health aims to provide the maximum benefit for the largest number of people. Programmes for the primary prevention of violence based on the public health approach are designed to expose a broad segment of communities to a range of prevention and intervention violence reduction measures. This approach consists of four steps.
  • The first step is for communities to take the leadership role with support from statutory agencies in designing and delivering effective intervention programmes.
  • The second step is to defining the problem through the systematic collection of publically available information about the magnitude, scope, geography, characteristics and consequences of violence.
  • The third step is identifying and prioritising the causes and correlates of violence, the factors that increase or decrease the risk for violence, and the factors that can be modified through a range of interventions.
  • The fourth step is identifying what works to prevent violence by implementing widely available, national and international evidence based examples of successful violence reduction strategies.
Statutory failure - community indifference.
For years a broad range of community organisations have sought to convince successive Governments of the need to take urgent preventative action to tackle serious youth violence. The response has been piecemeal, short term and enforcement led.   This is best summarised as the ‘jail, hospital and cemeteries’ approach resulting increased rates of incarceration alongside increased rates of serious youth violence and an increase in the fear of crime.
Black communities themselves have in the past relied too heavily on statutory funding from central and local government. Combined with a general level of ignorance about the true social, psychological, emotional, economic and environmental costs of violence this has led to a dangerous degree of dependency that has created a climate of complacency.
The reality of the situation we face now is one of completely unacceptable levels of violence, increasing fear of crime against a backdrop of statutory indifference characterised by distinct lack of policy creativity and innovation a general failure to eliminate the insidious culture of statutory silo working, alongside poor highly transient poor communities who are deeply disenfranchised disempowered and disinclined to engage.
What we intend to do.
We believe that an enforcement led approach whilst necessary is not of itself a sufficient requirement to sustainably reduce violence in the long term. Prevention, community empowerment, early intervention, rehabilitation and support for vulnerable families are critical components of any effective violence reduction strategies. 
We believe that both local and central government are failing to adequately protect our communities and that black communities have become both alienated and too dependent on a statutory led approach to this issue.
That is why we are calling for a coordinated Day of Action across London.
Our view is that those communities moist affected by violence have to take direct action in the face of such indifference.
We believe that unless we are prepared to take coordinated direct action in the tradition of the non violent civil rights struggle then our calls to help save our children will fall on deaf ears.
Local and central government are closing down many community based early interventions services, crime prevention and diversion programmes, youth clubs and community centres, after school clubs and nurseries, libraries as well as local parks and adventure playgrounds.
Our fear is that as a result things could get much worse as vulnerable young people and the wider community become increasing alienated from society.
Where will the money come from?
Funding will always be a contentious issue but we believe that it is a false economy to be cutting community led interventions services in high crime areas.
Over £120 million pounds is confiscated from criminals each year. In the light of that we believe that Government should now agree that 100% of all locally criminally confiscated assets be returned to local communities enabling them to have the necessary resources to build their capacity to lead on this issue.
This we believe has a number of immediate and obvious benefits.
Ø  This is not taxpayer’s money. Confiscated criminal assets can therefore offer much greater flexibility and innovation in terms of funding criteria and innovation in project delivery. 
Ø  Using these assets for community safety and development projects can begin to attack the false glamorisation of a criminal lifestyle. For example the public auctioning of local dealers prized assets will aid in combating this pernicious culture.
Ø  Opening community centres paid for by these confiscated assets will reinforce public confidence in the criminal justice system.
Ø  Reporting crime will be incentivised if people understand that their local community is likely to benefit in a socially productive way.
Ø  We feel that this is proportionately effective as the more crime an area suffers and the more confiscated asset are seized, the more money they have directly reinvested in community intervention and support projects.
Ø  We believe this will increase trust and confidence in the criminal justice system, develop community capacity to take responsibility for crime in their area, minimise the contribution from the taxpayer and enhance neighbourliness and social cohesion.

That is why we are calling on all communities to participate in a London wide coordinated Day of Action: Because all life is sacred. We are hoping that such a campaign will drive home these issues onto the agenda’s of local, regional and central government and most importantly increase the level of constructive engagement of our own communities.
Our objectives are to demonstrate both our anger and concern at the continued and unacceptable levels of the murder of our young people. To challenge statutory agency failure and community indifference by seeking to facilitate community empowerment and local leadership in delivering a public health approach to reducing violence.
Local communities can take any number of actions designed to highlight the serious of our situation both to the government and the wider public. What will be important is effective coordination and effective media management.
There are four high level objectives for the Day of Action: Because All Life Is Sacred campaign
  1. Significantly enhance interest from press and politicians and other key stakeholders in the issue of serious violence.

  1. Creatively demonstrate and represent the total volume of deaths suffered by local communities

  1. To promote the adoption of a public health community led preventive approach to reducing violence in poor communities.

  1. To demand that all confiscated criminal assets are ring fenced and handed over to community organisations to fund community safety projects.
We believe that a Day of Action will attract significant interest from our own community, press and politicians whom to date have paid little more than lip service to this issue. We hope you will join us as we take action to stem the violence.
A planning meeting for this event will take place on Wednesday 20th July 6pm-9pm @ Greater London Authority, 
City Hall, The Queen's Walk, 
London SE1 2AA.

PRESS RELEASE: London communities to take a stand against violence


Press Release


SACYRD is a new campaigning organisation a social enterprise company with charitable objectives founded in 2010. Our name stands for Strategic Alliance of Communities Rejecting Youth Destruction.
SACRYD is made up of people and organisations from the voluntary, faith and private sectors, including parents, young people, local Government and health organisations, all of whom are committed to tackling violence with a focus on knife, gun and violent crime in our communities.  SACRYD is supported by organisations such as The Black Police Association, The Damiola Trust, The Peace Alliance and the famous Eastside Academy.
All of those involved in SACRYD recognise the need for a dynamic campaigning community n organisation that can advocate and champion the need for the urgent adoption of a community led strategic preventative public health approach to reducing violence.  We are campaigning for Government to return the 100% confiscated criminal assets to the community to0 fund anti violence initiatives. Over £120 million is confiscated and that money is sent straight to the Treasury.
Carol Stewart Chairperson of SACRYD said “ Our primary objectives are to raise the level of awareness, of both politician’s and the wider community of the proven and tangible benefits of adopting a preventive public health approach. In addition to advocating and driving the political empowerment of local disenfranchised communities in taking the lead in owning and responding to the problem of violence.
Lee Jasper Secretary of SACRYD stated
“ At a time of increasing austerity confiscated criminal assets should be returned to communities to fund community projects designed to deter and prevent young people becoming seduced into a life of crime. If a crack dealer is running a crack house on an estate we should take his cash and open a community centre. That would inspire confidence  in criminal justice system as well, at a time of cuts to public spending , this cash should fund local initiatives to combat crime.”
He added
“Our objectives are to demonstrate both the level of anger and concern at the continued and unacceptable levels murder and youth violence affecting young people.  We intend to challenge both the failures of statutory agencies and community indifference by seeking to facilitate community empowerment and local leadership in delivering a public health approach to reducing violence. We want a renewed focus on prevention and early intervention not just a focus on enforcement. The balance is not right.
A planning meeting for this event will take place on Wednesday 20th July 6pm-9pm @ Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA.

For more information contact Lee Jasper
General Secretary SACRYD 07984 181797