Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Black Organisations Letter to London Mayoral Candidates on Youth Violence.

Press Release

April 20th 2016

For immediate release

Open Letter on Youth Violence in London to All Mayoral Candidates.

Youth violence in London is rising and too many young Londoners are living their lives in fear of violent crime. The safety of your young and their right to equitable access to the privileges and freedoms offered to their more fortunate peers is now the number one political concern of black Londoners.

The recent murders of Myron Yardie and Lewis Elwin has left a community traumatised, angry and anxious. Such crime disproportionately affects London's African and Caribbean Communities. Research shows that such crime is symptomatic of the extraordinarily high rates of unemployment, poverty and socio-economic exclusion in the capital and across the country as a whole. We are deeply concerned about the disproportionately high numbers that are excluded from school without appropriate support who then become part of the schools to prisons pipeline or worse end up murdered on the streets of London in greater numbers than any other single ethnic group. 

Operation Black Vote, National Black Police Association (NBPO), Blaksox

(Social Action Movement), The Association of Black Police Officers (ABPO), and Voyage (key community based service provider) in partnership with many leading black organisations and community groups are now urgently considering what both they and the next Mayor of London can do, in partnership, to address and stem these rising rates of violence. 

Last year witnessed a massive spike in the numbers of teenage black men murdered in London. By 2015 years end this figure had risen to 19. What is less publicised and debated by politicians is that in addition to these horrific figures, there are countless numbers of walking wounded, those who survived violent attack, but remain emotionally and psychologically traumatised and living in fear.

It has come as no surprise to our police, nurses, community workers, teachers and others that live and work in some of the most economically disadvantaged communities in London that we now find ourselves in this position. 

Bernard Hogan-Howe Commissioner of Police for London amongst many others, warned about this growing violence trend and advised that it was simply not possible to 'police our way of out' of this issue. Our concern is that as a result of increased rates of inequality, poverty and unemployment, we are revisiting the shockingly high levels of youth violence that were first seen in London when Boris Johnson became Mayor in 2008.

We contend that in the last 8 years very little has fundamentally changed. In fact, post the 2011 riots some would say the socioeconomic issues that were identified as “the drivers” that sparked the subsequent violence and civil unrest, have actually become much more acute. 

Black Londoners and Londoners as a whole, urgently need to know what the next Mayor of London intends to do to address these critically important issues that continue to blight the image of London as a safe city and good place to live and raise a family. We will also be seeking meaningful answers from decision makers across the most affected London boroughs in addition to those regional and national services who have been commissioned to address and tackle these issues, but have not had a meaningful foot-print in our communities.

Note to editors and other interested parties:

For further information please contact:

Viv Ahmun: 07985 395 166

Ashlee Gomes 07887 635 375