Croydon Council vows to tackle street violence


Armed police in central London. Pic: Stanislav Kozlovskiy

Croydon council has decided to set up a Violence Reduction Unit as national figures show the number of homicides including murder and manslaughter in England and Wales at the highest level since 2007.

The council held a cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss street violence and knife crime. Knife crime in the borough is currently at its highest rate in 10 years.

London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, Sophie Linden, was also in attendance to speak to councillors about the current situation of crime in the borough. The council is setting up a Violence Reduction Unit to address violence as well as other public health problems.

Linden told councillors: “We are going to see the difference locally and it is you, as a local authority, that really knows your community that will really make that long-term difference.”

She continued: “If you are treating violence as a disease you have to treat the disease as it is presenting now. That’s why the Mayor has put £15 million into the new violent crime task force.”

Linden went on to highlight the impact of domestic and sexual violence and how they contribute to parts of street violence.

“It’s absolutely about street violence and knife crime but it is also about that link with domestic violence and sexual violence,” she added.

Croydon’s action came just days before the publication of quarterly crime figures recorded by police in England and Wales which shows a significant rise in violent crime to the end of September on the previous year.  In Home Office data released by the Office for National Statistics, homicides went up from 649 in England and Wales to 739, an increase of 14%. Knife crime was up 8% and robbery went up by 17%.

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