Councillor Jacqui Dyer, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills and Community Safety, presented the Lambeth Made Safer Strategy 2020 – 2030. The Strategy, set out at Appendix A to the report, set out a vision with goals and priorities for making Lambeth one of the safest places for young people and young adults. The following points were noted:
- Although violence against young people had fallen from its peak in 2018, it remained a significant issue for Lambeth. As set out in the report, in 2020 Lambeth’s position relative to other London boroughs had worsened significantly.
- The Strategy aimed to break the cycle of violence that devasted lives of individuals, families and communities. This would be done by acting upon feedback from young people and communities about their experiences, together with their views about what would work to prevent violence against young people in the future.
- A long-term Public Health approach to community safety would help ensure early interventions so that the aspirations of young people were not limited due to obstacles, including those in relation to early childhood and socio-health issues.
- The Strategy acknowledged and highlighted that systemic racism had affected Black communities over many years in the borough and it was noted that this had led to higher levels of violence against young Black people. Councillor Dyer emphasised that the Strategy would adopt an anti-racist approach throughout all its work.
- The aim was to improve the safety, and health and well-being, of children and young people across the borough and to reduce the number of young people and young adults impacted by violence.
- The Strategy had been informed by the lived experiences of those affected by youth violence and the successes and failures of those who continued to strive to prevent it.
Natalie Creary, Black Thrives Programme Delivery Director, made representations on this item which focussed on the following key points:
- Lambeth could be proud of its Made Safer Strategy and the embracing of an anti-racist lens was commended. Black Thrive encouraged the Council to continue to work with it but noted that success required the continued support of councillors.
- It was noted that the Strategy could possibly help reduce the inequality gap.
- The embracing of a collective impact model was praised.
- This was an opportunity to think differently around youth violence language, such as “violence that affects young people” instead of “youth violence”.
- A balance was needed on intervention to address the symptoms and consequences of violence, by ensuring attention to systemic factors, such as school exclusion or state neglect, were considered. This would enable the building of trust by recognising that opportunities and choice agency was shaped by statutory organisations instead of a focus solely on the child, community, or family. However, such a balance underlined the importance of further investment into solutions.
- It was important to create space for communities to take leadership roles, especially those disproportionally impacted, so that they could deliver solutions for themselves.
Councillor Scott Ainslie, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, reflected on the relationship between the Skills and Employment Strategy (considered earlier in the meeting) and the Lambeth Made Safer Strategy and stated his support for adopting an anti-racist approach. The following points were also highlighted:
- The valuable work of Youth Centres and the need to ensure these were supported by the Strategy.
- The need for Children and Young People’s Mental Health services to be made more accessible, especially for those suffering as a result of poverty and increasing uncertainty as a result of Covid-19.
- The importance of providing training and employment opportunities for young people at risk of being involved with drugs and/or alcohol.
Councillor Dr Mahamed Hashi, Deputy Cabinet Member for Youth, also made representations on this item which focussed on the importance of ongoing community engagement and the fact that this was at the heart of the Strategy. It was highlighted that residents would continue to have opportunities to participate in both the development and delivery of the various work streams set out in the Strategy.
During the discussion that followed, Cabinet considered a range of issues, including: the effective use of language; the need to involve children and young people in the design of public spaces to ensure local environments were safe for all; how the Strategy had been aligned to support work to tackle violence against women and girls; and issues in relation to racism and discrimination.
RESOLVED: That the Lambeth Made Safer Strategy 2020-2030 be endorsed, and its implementation authorised.