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Assertive new action to tackle gangs in London

Interview with Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for Policing 21st May 2009: In this exclusive interview with Alicja Borkowska, Mr. Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for Policing talks about their plans to make London a safer place.

What are your further plans to make London safer than it is?

Well, as you know we’ve already done some work on knife crime, we’ve put more police officers on the transport network. The next thing we are going to look at is town centres, so rows of shops and areas of activity, make sure that we get more police officers there, much better policing there. We want to look at dangerous dogs because their  number in London is going  through the roof so we have a special squad now to bear down that. The key to a lot of violence in London is around gangs, that’s why we are working on some assertive new action to try to tackle gangs both in terms of making sure people do not go into gangs and get diverted but where gangs are existing and are very violent, really cracking down on them as hard as we can so the police own the streets rather than the gangs.

Are you going to open more youth centres to attract the youngsters and keep them away from streets?

We are certainly going to look at youth diversion programmes. Part of the problem I think with a lot of youth work at the moment is that it is all about entertaining the youth and that works as long as you’re entertaining them. As soon as you stop they get bored and they go back. What we want to do is to get them in and educate them, give them skills that mean that when they’re not in the classroom or youth centre they can do something more useful than be involved in a gang or get involved in crime. The thing we need to bear in mind is that we are only talking about a very small number of young people, probably a couple of thousand people in whole city. The other thing we need to do is to promote this idea that young people are actually great and that we don’t  need to be worried or scared of most of them while we deal with those who we need to deal with.

By Alicja Borkowska, The Polish Observer

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