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First Southwark Council panel on youth violence meets

18 December 2018

Southwark Council has created a cross-party panel to understand the current landscape of youth violence in the borough.

Over the past few months London has witnessed a number of tragic knife crimes with many of the victims teenagers and young people. Sadly, a number of these incidents have taken place in our own borough.

Southwark Council organised this panel to fully capture the root causes of youth violence and develop recommendations to inform the council’s future work in this area. The first panel meeting laid the foundation on which future meetings will build. Council officers from community safety, police and young people presented the current picture of youth violence in the borough and the interventions currently in place to divert people away from crime. 

The panel also heard from education and public health officers on the lasting effects adverse childhood experiences can have and understanding youth violence in relation to socio-economic factors and within the wider context of societal violence.

Key to the council’s approach to knife crime and youth violence, as well as the development of this panel, is that one organisation cannot solve the problem alone. In order that the broadest opinions are heard and shared solutions are found we must build on our strong partnership with the police, health, schools and our communities. The eight-person panel is chaired by Cllr Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health and draws together a cross-section of political opinion as well as young people.

Over the coming five months the panel will hear evidence on a range of topics including education and employability, mental health and the public health approach to knife crime, media, music and role models, criminal justice and the police and youth and community services. 

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, said: “This panel is a really important forum for ideas and voices to be heard. What this panel exemplifies is that we all have a role in making young people and communities feel safer, removing knives from the streets and supporting positive choices.

“We all know that youth crime is a complex issue and there is no quick fix or one size fits all response. Over the coming months the panel will hear from a range of people on a number of topics that all contribute to youth violence.   

“On a personal note, I am incredibly proud that this panel is up and running. We have all seen the damage that has been caused by knife crime particularly and I am determined that Southwark Council will play its part in working toward a solution. I am also proud that alongside colleagues from different political parties we have two eloquent and thoughtful young people as members of this panel. They will be able to bring personal experience which is so important for a project of this nature. It is key that their voices and the voices of other young people in the borough are heard and that they are part of the conversation.”

The next meeting scheduled for 5.30pm on Wednesday, January 23 2019 (subject to change) at Southwark Council’s Tooley Street office. The theme for the next meeting will be early help and education. All meetings are open to the public. 

Page last updated: 18 December 2018

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