At the end of an urgent investigation into violent crime in London, the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee has requested the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan take urgent steps to tackle the high levels of violence in the capital – which has seen more than 120 homicides so far, this year

The committee has welcomed the Mayor’s establishment of a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), and the move toward a ‘public health approach’ but is concerned about the lack of detail about the unit and what it will mean in practice.

The committee has written to the Mayor with recommendations aimed at shaping the future work of the VRU, including:

  • The VRU must tackle all forms of violence – whether it is committed with a gun, a knife, a broken bottle or a fist; and either by an adult or a young person. This includes tackling domestic violence.
  • Prevention is key. The VRU should explicitly focus on tackling ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) – the term given to traumatic situations children live through—which increase the likelihood of poor outcomes by impacting on physical health, cognitive development and behaviour.
  • The VRU needs to focus on school exclusions at an early stage in its work programme.
  • The Mayor and the VRU should call on social media providers to take down all content that explicitly calls for the use of violence.

Steve O’Connell AM, Chairman of the Police and Crime Committee, said:

“Londoners are heartbroken to hear about the near daily carnage on our streets, the young lives lost and the misery for families and communities.

“The Mayor’s new Violence Reduction Unit will need to demonstrate that it brings something different to the table. It cannot simply be a re-branding exercise of existing programmes and policies.

“We cannot emphasise enough how critical it is that the unit tackles the traumatic situations that children might live through in order to break the cycle of violence”

“We do not underestimate the challenge ahead but it’s time for the Mayor to take even further and drastic action because London is crying out for change.”