My View: Councillor Florence Nosegbe
8:00am Sunday 16th September 2012 in News
The issue of youth crime and gang membership is a complex one; no one single agency can solve this.
We have to redouble our efforts on working with the communities affected and the young people involved.
There have always been youth gangs in inner cities and the recent spate of gun and knife killings remains a top community safety concern for the community and the Council.
I recently attended the premier of the film ‘247365 Change’ which follows six members from two South London rival gangs.
Three of the young men are ex-gang members from a Brixton Gang and they detail why and how they got involved with gangs.
Spending time with these young men listening to how they felt alienated and rejected by the education system, how they found employers not willing to give them an opportunity to prove they are employable or the treatment they had received from the Police due to their past association gangs, forms a key part of my new role in assessing how effective current statutory and third sector agency provisions are tackling this issue.
The insights from the ex-gang members are important in developing new provisions to fill any gaps and shape the support that will be available to young people and their families.
Having grown up in an area where some of the young boys I used to see on an almost daily basis got caught up on the wrong side of the law, why am I not quick to condemn them as criminals?
The harsh reality is that children as young as 11 years old are been groomed into gangs and I am keen to look at how to help them reform.
Despite the media headlines, we have to remember that only a small minority of young people are involved in gangs; however this can have a devastating effect on local communities.
Our ambition in Lambeth with the Cooperative Council is to allow residents and most importantly young people and community leaders to take a lead in getting to the root cause of this issue.
One area we are focused on is ensuring that young people can lead healthy lifestyles and achieve their full potential.
We are setting up the country’s first ever youth services cooperative, with membership open to any resident of Lambeth and half of the board will be reserved for young people.
When we listen to young people they will take the lead and make the change.
Councillor Florence Nosegbe, special representative for tackling violent youth crime and representative for Brixton Hill Ward.