Following the terrible murder of schoolboy Daniel Laskos in Harold Wood, I have been contacted by constituents who are deeply concerned about violence in London. I see that the MPS have recently been awarded £8 million to tackle serious violence. How will this be used in Havering?
I know I speak for all Londoners when I say our hearts go out to Daniel’s family. I am angry and deeply saddened that young Londoners like Daniel lose their lives to senseless acts of violence and I am determined to do everything I can to ensure no family has to experience the horror of a loved one being injured or killed in a violent crime.
That is why I have already invested a record £1 billion in tackling crime and the causes of crime, and why I introduced a public health approach to the issue in London. This year alone I have invested £12.85 million into our Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and in March I invested a further £8 million of council tax funding in violence prevention projects, alongside £30 million in additional funding from City Hall to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to protect frontline officer numbers in Havering and across London. This includes more funding for youth workers to support young victims of violence presenting at London’s major trauma centres and A&Es. Ten young Havering residents were seen by this service in 2020/21. It includes investment in tackling the criminal exploitation of children and young people by county lines gangs. In 2020/21, 145 young Londoners were supported by the Rescue and Response service, 24 of whom were from Havering. I cannot stress enough how important these interventions are and how truly grateful I am to the people working day in and day out to support them.
I also welcome the arrival of additional Government funding to boost our efforts, with £8 million allocated to London in March. The Home Office is quite prescriptive about what the funding can be used for. The MPS is allocating some of this money to surge activity, to suppress violence as lockdown eases, targeting the most dangerous offenders. The rest will be invested in tailored policing approaches that use a range of data to identify and resource the primary violence hotspots in each Basic Command Unit.
I am absolutely committed to driving down violent crime in Havering and throughout London. We can make a bigger difference by working together, and I look forward to working with you, Assembly Member Prince, and the rest of the Assembly with our shared ambition of a safer city for all Londoners.
Thank you, Mr Mayor. I am very pleased that you are keen to work together. As you know, I am always happy to be collegiate. With that in mind, will you then agree, Mr Mayor, to meet with some mums of victims of these heinous crimes who have in fact lost their sons with me, so that we can learn from them to help you structure your plans?
I regularly meet with bereaved families including mums, dads, carers, siblings and so forth. I am always happy to meet more families either through you or others as well. We can arrange a time. It is very important.
Can I also be cheeky, Mr Mayor? I know that you, like me, are passionate about trying to get people out of homelessness. You probably are aware of the Hills Foundation, which is giving away 200 free units across the South East. I have one of the units coming down to Westminster on 28 June. I am going to send you a formal invitation to come and have a look. I hope you will be able to take it up.
Yes. It is not cheeky at all. I am more than happy to, if I can. For those who do not know, Assembly Member Prince is a good example of us putting aside differences in party political terms and working closely together on a range of issues. I am more than happy to come down.
Point of order, Chair; I do not think the Assembly Member was being cheeky, but it is important for new Members to realise that if you ask a core question, you are meant to stick to the core question or the substance around it. If we mean to go on and stick to our rules, I understand why the Member raised it and why the Mayor answered in the way he did, but it was very different from the core question around violence.