Boris Johnson visited Edmonton in North London today to launch ‘Time For Action’, his long-awaited action plan to tackle the causes of teenage violence and criminality in the capital.
The plan, which outlines five ‘core projects’ the Mayor will be working on, is expected to work alongside existing police operations such as Blunt 2. The Mayor’s ‘core projects’ are:
“1. Giving young offenders in prison for the first time the life tools that will enable careers other than professional criminality. It makes sense on all levels, even financially.
2. Teachers can only educate kids if they are actually in school. Truancy needs more co-ordinated and assertive effort. 3. Only a tiny minority of children in care go to university. They are much more likely to end up in prison. We want to change these numbers.
4. Their behaviour shows that too many young people lack self-respect and character. Organisations like the Scouts, Girl Guides and Police Cadets know a lot about character, and we need their help.
5. Sport can unify and redeem. Healthy bodies lead to healthy minds, and we want more sporty, active kids in our city. In addition to these themes, the Mayor wants to establish specialist Mayoral Academies across London to help equip the city and young people with the skills needed for the future.”
City Hall officials are stressing that the plan represents the Mayor’s initial response to the issue and Londoners are invited to share their views in a consultation process which runs until 16th December.
Speaking at today’s launch Mayor Johnson said “a small but significant minority have seriously disengaged from society and I believe we must respond in two ways. Firstly through highly visible policing to deter criminality and secondly through measures to address the complex root causes of crime, exclusion and violence.”
“vital that we address the soaring levels of re-offending and the ridiculous situation where first time offenders are more likely to leave custody and commit crime than find a job and contribute to society. We must also do much more to give all children a decent start in life. That means better parenting, more work to address truancy and more opportunities for young people to develop their character and through education and sporting activities.”
After last month being urged to consider his language about youths in the capital the Mayor also commented that “the majority of our young people who are well balanced and full of ambition.”
Green Party Assembly Member Jenny Jones said Johnson’s plans don’t go far enough, commenting: “effective community service schemes would not only improve community safety for all Londoners, they are also likely to be much cheaper for the tax payer. The Mayor should work with ministers to deliver such a scheme as quickly as possible.”
Londoners wishing to comment on the Mayor’s plans can do so via the www.london.gov.uk website.