Blog by Hugh Murdoch, North London Citizens Organiser
This morning I was pleased to hear London Mayor Sadiq Khan announce plans for a violence reduction unit to tackle the endemic rise of youth crime in London. The unit, which will treat youth violence as a public health issue, will be based on a model in Glasgow which had significant success.
However, this morning’s announcement came alongside news of yet another fatal stabbing on our streets. A young man in his 20s was killed on Tuesday night by Tufnell Park, on the border between of Camden and Islington.
In Camden and Islington specifically – the two boroughs which I organise in – the local community is extremely concerned about the endemic youth violence happening on our streets every week. Friends, family members, and neighbours of the community we support are directly impacted by the rise in knife crime in our area.
As a group we’re concerned with the high levels of youth violence on our streets, and as such we have come together to create the Camden and Islington Citizens Commission on Youth Violence. The Commission, led by the Bishop of Edmonton Rob Wickham, will officially launch next week at our public hearing at the Muslim Welfare House.
The Commission is an independently organised response to violence across the two boroughs of Camden and Islington. It is specifically designed to support the development of an effective Civil Society response to tackle violence. Over the course of the next academic year, the Commission will hear evidence on the nature of the problem of violence, identify areas in which Civil Society could respond differently, and workshop those responses.
The agenda for the public hearing will be as follows:
- Welcome and introduction: we will welcome the commissioners and reflect on the two key questions set by the commission
- Experience and expertise: we will hear stories from young people and their families
- Experience and expertise: we will hear from the local council and the work that is going on in this area
- Next steps and call for evidence: we will hear about the next steps for the Commission, and their call for evidence from organisations in Camden and Islington
At the event we are looking forward to also hearing from Will Linden – the Director of the Violence Reduction Unit in Scotland – who will share lessons from Scotland in developing an effective response to violence.
From the research we have done so far, by listening to residents in the local community, one thing is clear: an effective response to violence is not just a police or council led one. It is imperative that it involves a wide range of actors and organisations – including schools, churches, mosques and community groups that we represent.
If you would like to be involved in the commission and attend the event, there are still places available. Please get in touch directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in attending the launch, but please note that Citizens members will be prioritised.
The launch of the Camden and Islington Citizens Commission on will take place at Muslim Welfare House on the 27th September 2018.