Mark contributed this morning to a debate tabled by Simon Hughes MP on youth crime in London. With the horrendous number of teenage murders in the capital over the past few years, young and old constituents alike are naturally worried about their safety.
In the past six months there have been 303 recorded youth violence incidents in Westminster – in fact a 6.2% reduction from last year. Mark is pleased by this reduction and it is clear that the vast majority of young people in London constitute a very positive, valued part of capital’s population.
However, as is the case with a lot of crime, perception of crime and the fear of it can be a big problem. With the significant coverage of recent knife crime fatalities, young people in the constituency feel anxious and Mark has heard recently from pupils from Westminster City School who have articulated their concern about feeling intimidated by gangs of youths in the streets and on buses.
Speaking in the debate, Mark said: “It is important that young people believe that youth crime is taken seriously, that reported incidents are dealt with swiftly and effectively and that there is a police presence on our streets and transport systems to make people feel safer.”
Keen to improve authorities’ responses to knife and gun crimes, Mark also met recently with one of Britain’s top trauma surgeons who operates at the Royal London Hospital. He confirmed that there are significant problems in the collection of evidence and the reporting of knife violence to the police and recommends a more joined up approach between all concerned authorities – local police, the Home Office, hospitals, the Mayor of London and the capital’s local councils.
Mark now plans to table another Westminster Hall debate on knife and gun crime in the coming months to emphasise the need for a joined-up approach and to put forward ideas for a specialised trauma ward to treat effectively victims of such crime and help convict its perpetrators.