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My efforts to tackle crime in Croydon

In 2017 I said I would tackle knife crime and I’ve kept that promise. I have set up and led the national cross-party campaign in Parliament, published research showing the impact of school exclusions and youth service cuts, and been invited to No.10 to talk about my work uncovering the root causes of violence and finding solutions.

Violence has doubled under the Conservatives and knife crime is at record levels. But it is starting to come down here in Croydon after I helped secure funding and a new Violence Reduction Network. However, it is still a blight on our community.

As your MP I promise to continue my fight to bring this crime wave down, with three priorities to keep our children and our community safe:

1. Labour's plan to combat knife crime

I worked to get the new Legacy Youth Zone set up and opened in Croydon, and I’ve seen the impact it’s already having on our young people, not only keeping kids off the streets and out of trouble, but offering real progression, meaningful training and skills development, and inspiring activities like music and sports.

Labour has committed to introducing far more of these hubs if we were to get into government. Our Young Futures programme will build a package of support for those young people most at risk of falling into crime. I hope that these measures, alongside stricter enforcement of existing penalties, will lead to a sharp decrease of knife crime in Croydon and elsewhere.

All young people should have access to these properly funded youth clubs and youth workers. Those youth workers should also be recognised and rewarded for the value they bring to our community.

I’ve been working closely with an organisation that puts youth workers in A&Es to work with young people who have been a victim of knife crime, helping steer them away from risk at what is often an eye-opening turning point in their lives. Labour has committed to putting far more youth workers into A&E units, custody centres, pupil referral units and communities to target young people who are starting to be drawn into violence.

My research has also uncovered the impact school cuts have had on support for children in schools, and exposed the link between school exclusions and knife crime. I’ll fight for fair funding for Croydon’s schools to make sure all our children get the education and support they need, so they stay in school, are protected from gangs and exploitation, and grow up to access good clean jobs.

2. Feeling safe on the streets

The Tories cut over 20,000 police from our streets and neighbourhood policing has suffered the most. Crime detection and prosecution levels are at record lows.

Labour would put 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs on the beat, encouraging the kind of policing that builds real relationships between officers and our communities, creates trust and improves investigations and intelligence gathering.

Increased police deployment has proved to be incredibly successful in significantly decreasing the amount of crime in certain areas. Recently we had a spate of robberies on school age children in certain areas around Croydon and, after I called for additional police support, their deployments led to a fall in crime by 23%.

I have also been pushing for an increased use of Live Facial Recognition technology in and around our town centre. Recent deployments have led to 20 fugitives being apprehended and it is clear this is an effective way of getting troublemakers off of our streets.

Improved lighting on our streets is also a failsafe way of making the detection of crime easier.

3. Working with kids involved in crime to break the cycle

Youth Offending Teams and other agencies run some fantastic programmes that work with young people caught up in knife crime to uncover and address the root causes of their behaviour. When done properly, it’s proven to work in supporting young people away from crime and keeping them out of prison.

But these services have all had their funding slashed – by more than half. I will fight for proper funding for Croydon’s youth offending services and other council agencies so they can run a range of programmes that can be tailored to each young person’s needs.

I will fight for more, long-term funding for Croydon’s Violence Reduction Network to put it on a sustainable footing and make sure it can continue and improve its great work helping agencies work together to identify and target young people at risk, and so the council can provide vital services to reduce all forms of violence.


©2024 Copyright Sarah Jones