One of the most important issues for me as a candidate for councillor in Sands End is Crime. I recently wrote an article on this and how CCTV would be most welcomed in Sands End where there is none.
I can think of no stronger validation for that article than the recent shocking arrests in Sands End and other areas of London of the members of the highly dangerous MDP Gang, and the discovery of a submachine gun and 1kg of a class A drug.
While it is welcome news that police have dealt a blow to this gang, it leaves me feeling anxious that this was happening on our doorstep. One of our campaign team may even have put a letter from the Liberal Democrats through their door, this is frightening indeed.
What’s even more disturbing is the fact that a 14 year old child acting as a runner for the gang was involved, and this begs the question: “what exactly are we doing for our children and young people in Sands End?”
It is too easy to suggest that this is a national issue and something to be handled by Scotland Yard. The police have done a fantastic job and probably saved a number of lives through this one operation, but locally we have a duty to our youth to make sure they are safe.
There are few resources in Sands End for youth (the Sands End Youth club is actually based in Fulham Broadway). We need to make sure these youth services are not only well funded but are given the support they need to help reach out to all local young people.
It could be argued that this 14 year old may not have been saved by the availability of youth services, however a friend pointed out to me that this young person had perhaps been isolated from ‘regular kids’ who may have been a good influence and involved them in positive activities. Youth services provide regular support through offering safe spaces and activities that give the opportunity for young people to develop character and skills. They also give another layer of protection alongside families, friends and schools to notice if something is not right and to seek further interventions from other professionals such as the police or social services. Increasingly we see youth services being cut back which cannot be a good step forward for reducing youth crime
This situation has reinvigorated in me the need to make sure youth services are available in Sands End by working with local community groups and the council to make sure that funds AND support are made available. I hope you will support me at the local elections so that Youth Services can be put back on the map in Sands End.