'No excuse for ignoring the conditions that encourage criminality to thrive'
Cllr Peray Ahmet, leader, Haringey Council
- Credit: PA
To many of us, summer holidays mean bright evenings that allow us to enjoy the warm weather and great open spaces across the borough.
Instead, we are talking about another tragic murder in Haringey.
I am horrified by the shooting of a young man in Wood Green, just after 9pm on Sunday night. This horrendous murder, on a busy street in what was practically broad daylight, is a tragedy.
My thoughts are with the bereaved family and friends, with all our communities torn apart by senseless violence, and with the residents now anxious about going about their daily lives. The safety of our residents is our top priority, and Haringey Council is working with the police and other partners to prevent this happening again.
Violent crime is a complex issue that is often treated as a simple one. Violence does not happen in a vacuum; it has root causes which means it can be treated and prevented.
At Haringey, we take a public health approach to serious youth violence, meaning we look at the underlying risk factors that increase likelihood that someone will be involved in crime and take preventative measures to reduce and prevent violence.
There is no excuse for criminality, but there is no excuse for ignoring the conditions that encourage criminality to thrive.
Violence is strongly linked to deprivation and inequality, and is exacerbated by the chronic underfunding of the public services designed to support our young people to lead full and happy lives.
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This is why we’ve opened a new youth centre, Rising Green Youth Hub, which was co-designed by our young people. Their talent, creativity, and lived experience will make services at Rising Green more effective as a result.
To tackle deprivation and food insecurity, Haringey offers an expanded Free School Meals programme and a Holidays, Activities, and Food programme which provides free activities and food over the school holidays.
As a local authority we are doing what we can, but this government is desperately weak on addressing violent crime and its causes. The Conservatives have overseen 12 years of funding cuts to our youth services, and many of our young people have only known austerity throughout their formative years.
My message to the next prime minister is this: show you’re serious about ending the epidemic of youth violence by funding youth services, supporting deprived communities, tackling poverty and inequality, and investing in and creating opportunities for our young people.
Cllr Peray Ahmet is the Labour leader of Haringey Council.