Cllr Tom Miller and Cllr Mili Patel respond to Safer Kids petition
Tuesday April 30, 2019
We welcome the calls for more visible policing and echo that demand. Every child should feel safe walking home from school and it is not acceptable that anyone is being assaulted.
From the council’s perspective, we have directed the Partnership Tasking Team – who are additional police officers, part paid for and directed by the council – to focus their patrols in Harlesden and Kensal Rise, in response to recent incidents. In addition, it may be helpful to know that Cllr Miller and Cllr Kelcher have recently written to the Metropolitan Police to ask that they better focus their financial resources in areas with higher levels of crime and social deprivation.
We would like to reassure everyone who has signed the petition that we are prioritising CCTV in key locations. Earlier this year, more cameras were installed as part of a £2.5m investment in CCTV across the borough. Behind the scenes these cameras are already helping to capture images that are leading to convictions. We are also able to move cameras quickly to different areas when new crime ‘hotspots’ spring up. This is done on an evidence-basis, which is why it’s so important that people do report crime. We can only address problems when we know about them.
We also agree that we need to look at long-term preventative solutions. We know that there can be a link between exclusions and young people going on to commit crime, which is why we’re proud that we have reduced the number of children being excluded in Brent by 48% over the past two years.
We are working in partnership with the outstanding secondary schools we have in Brent, as well as community and voluntary groups, to support young people to make good choices about their future. We are also planning to develop Roundwood Youth Centre to establish what’s called an ‘alternative provision’. This means we’ll be better able to help children who have either been excluded or are at risk of exclusion from mainstream schools. This centre will also have a much improved youth offer for all young people at evenings and weekends.
It is important to acknowledge the broader context. We have faced deep and sustained funding cuts from central government of 79% over the past decade. There is a lot more we would like to do as a council, for children and young people in Brent. With £164 million less to spend, we’ve had to make some very tough choices. We hope that the wave of violence we’ve seen in London and other cities over recent months will serve as a wake-up call to government. You cannot strip services – especially those services that help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour – to the bone without repercussions.
The suggestion of a positive action network sounds like a great idea and we are in contact with the petition organisers to set up a meeting. Despite the funding challenges we face, it is important that we have these conversations, as a community, and leave no stone unturned as we all work to make Brent safer.
Cllr Tom Miller
Lead Member for Community Safety, Brent Council
Cllr Mili Patel
Lead Member for Children's Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care