Agenda item

Knife Crime Task Group Scoping Paper

This report proposes the establishment of a members’ scrutiny task group to review knife crime in Brent.

Minutes:

A report proposing the establishment of a Task Group on Knife Crime was considered by the committee. The purpose of the task group would be to gain a better understanding of knife crime in Brent and of how interventions could reduce knife crime. A full scoping paper for the task group and terms of reference were attached as appendices to the report. These detailed that  the task group would review the links between knife crime and gangs in Brent; review partnership working arrangements with regard to a public health approach to knife crime; and, review what needed to be done locally to complement the wider London approach.

 

The report explained that the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee fulfilled the role of the Crime and Disorder Committee for the purposes of Section 19 of the Police and Justice Act 2006. In this capacity, the committee could review or scrutinise decisions made and actions taken by responsible authorities with regard crime and disorder functions. It was intended therefore that the task group investigate the work undertaken by the Community Safety Partnership as a whole and the final recommendations would be made to the Partnership via Full Council in accordance with the powers of the Crime and Disorder Committee and the council’s constitution. 

 

Chris Whyte (Operational Director, Environment Services), Karina Wane (Head of Community Protection), Superintendent Louis Smith (Metropolitan Police) and David Evans (Partnership Manager, St Giles Trust) were present to address the committee’s queries.

 

In the subsequent discussion, members questioned what steps would be taken to engage with victim’s families and victim support in Brent and whether the task group would consult ex-gang members and offenders. The committee also questioned whether the task group would explore the use of a social housing panel for at risk youths.

 

David Evans advised that the St Giles Trust worked with young people affected by serious youth violence or gang crime. He outlined the range of support and activities provided by the St Giles Trust and explained that since the services were commissioned in April 2017, they had worked with 49 young people. In response to members’ comments regarding consulting victims and perpetrators, David Evans emphasised that often perpetrators of knife crime had been victims of knife crime in the past.  Karina Wane added that the St Giles Trust also provided wrap around support with families and that many of the frontline workers had lived experience of the issues at hand. It was emphasised that any work the task group undertook with ex-offenders would be subject to safeguarding considerations.

 

Karina Wane confirmed that housing was a significant issue as many of the young people affected by knife crime were at risk in the area where they lived. This was a pan-London issue. Superintendent Louis Smith recommended that the task group may wish to escalate issues to the Mayor and the new Serious Violent Crime Unit with regard to potential cross borough funding for relocating families at risk.

 

Councillor Kabir (proposed Chair of the Task Group) thanked members for their comments and confirmed that they would be taken on board by the task group.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)     That a task group on knife crime be established, with scope and terms of reference as set out in Appendices A and B to the report, but with particular attention paid to the following:

a.    speaking with victims and their families;

b.    engaging those with relevant insight such as ex-gang leaders or offenders, subject to safeguarding considerations;

c.    the impact of housing pressures and pan-London/cross borough solutions.

ii)    That the task group include a representative from Brent Youth Parliament and any other people from the local community with relevant expertise as appropriate.

Supporting documents: