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Camden Coalition is key to a better community

PUBLISHED: 12:09 07 October 2011

Borough Commander John Sutherland

Borough Commander John Sutherland

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A "Camden Coalition" which will draw on all sectors of society is the answer to gang and serious youth violence which has blighted Camden's streets, according to the borough's police chief.

A “Camden Coalition” which will draw on all sectors of society is the answer to gang and serious youth violence which has blighted Camden’s streets, according to the borough’s police chief.

In a third and final meeting in the wake of the Camden disorder, residents, police and councillors came together to plot a course to beat the growing problem of disaffected youth. Borough Commander John Sutherland told the Ham&High there is no need for a new or expensive organisation, the key is for businesses, faith groups, council, police and residents to unite and come up with solutions.

Speaking at the Camden Community and Police Consultative Group (CCPCG), Chief Superintendent Sutherland said: “I have in my mind a Camden Coalition. I have no desire to introduce an organisation with bureaucracy, but a network of people who care and have something to contribute, be it time, expertise, facilities or just hard cash. What we always feel after something like this is that we have to set up something new and actually we don’t at all.

“Rather than everyone working on pet projects, we need to find a way of getting the best out of our current resources. At the moment we’re less than the sum of our parts and if you can’t do it in Camden you can’t do it anywhere.

“There are enough people who care and can contribute to do something extraordinary but you have to capture their imagination.”

Vital

It is unclear what form the “coalition” will take, but concerned residents and council staff pitched in ideas towards the plan at a meeting at the town hall on Monday.

Education, training, engagement and employment were all seen as vital to addressing the problem.

Leon Ellenport, of the Fortune Green Safer Neighbourhood Panel, said: “The Camden Coalition could bring groups of people together whether it’s training, employers or financial backers but the there’s a need for a more imaginative approach. At the moment we’re making too many promises and we’re not taking it right the way through.”

A long-term solution to target potentially troubled youths from birth has also been discussed by Camden’s Community Safety Partnership, which will form the final plan.

In the coming months a youth advisory group will be set up to contribute to the debate.

Chairman of the (CCPCG), Roy Walker said: “We’re not going to solve youth violence this year or the next. It’s about recognising the problem and in the longer term stop it from escalating.

“Hopefully we can stop it moving on to the next generation.”

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