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Working together for a safer Brent

Too often we are reminded of how fragile life can be. And too often we see lives ruined or lost to the tragedy of senseless violence. Indeed, I’m sure each of us offered thoughts and prayers to those caught up in the recent horrific attacks in Manchester and London Bridge.

Any life lost or irrevocably changed as a result of violent crime is of course a tragedy for those most immediately affected. But it is also a tragedy for the community as a whole. As well as stopping us in our tracks, the shock, grief and fear that such events instil can also drive us apart. If we succumb, if we let that happen, then we will never succeed in keeping our streets safe. And, if we don’t try, we will be complicit in its ongoing futility.

The good news is that, overall, crime in Brent is falling. Unfortunately, like many other cities across the UK, we are not immune to the regrettable trend of increasing – and increasingly – violent crime. Through the Safer Brent Partnership, the council and police are working hard to get this situation under control. We are making it abundantly clear that we will not tolerate those who think it’s acceptable to resolve their disputes with violence. What’s more, we will use every resource at our disposal to catch, prosecute and punish those who choose to carry deadly weapons around this borough. To ensure that we can make an impact, we’ve bought in an additional 12 police officers who will be focused on tackling serious violent crime. We are also upgrading our CCTV network, boosting the deterrent, augmenting our ability to be proactive and massively improving evidence gathering and the chances of successful prosecution.

But these problems need more than just enforcement if they are to be resolved. We each need to consider what more we can do as individuals and as members of our communities. We need to talk. We need to empathise. We need to stand up and say that enough is enough. We need to confront seemingly impossible questions such as what is it that drives a person – let alone a child or young person – to commit such terrible acts? How do they not understand the immense and lasting consequences of their actions? And what is going on in their lives for them to be so oblivious – contemptuous, even – to the value of that life or the lives of others?

I know that these are incredibly difficult matters to deal with. But we have to try. If you’d like to get involved please have a look at www.brent.gov.uk/timetotalk.

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