Sarah Jones, Croydon Central’s new MP, has started a programme of evidence-gathering and meetings to try to identify the root causes of knife crime.
The announcement comes as Metropolitan Police figures showed a total of 571 knife crime offences recorded in Croydon in 2016 – more than 10 offences per week. Croydon has the second highest number of knife crimes among all the boroughs in London.
Cuts to police budgets by the Tory-led Government and during the mayoralty of the Conservative Boris Johnson have seen Croydon lose 8 in 10 of its community police officers.
Jones is using the summer recess away from Parliament to meet community groups, police and other organisations across Croydon who are working to reduce knife crime and youth violence. Jones will also aim to meet families of those affected by knife crime, and young people who have experienced knife crime or gang violence directly.
In the second stage of the programme, called Croydon Voice, Jones will take the evidence gathered during her meetings back to Parliament, giving a national platform to those working at the grassroots or experiencing the tragic consequences of knife crime.
Jones has already secured an adjournment debate in Parliament on knife crime, for September 6, the first week after Parliament returns from recess.
Jones is also setting up an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime. Evidence from the Croydon Voice programme will be brought to this group and help form policy recommendations to Government.
As the first evidence-gathering session, this week, Jones attended a joint meeting of the Lions Society and Another Night of Sisterhood (ANOS), together with Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, Croydon’s Borough Commander, and Stuart Collins, the deputy leader of Croydon Council.
“These are local people doing extraordinary things to support families and rebuild trust among young people in their community,” Jones said. “It was valuable to hear first-hand what could be done to enable groups like this to help even more people.
“Croydon Voice is about using my platform as MP to amplify the voice of groups like ANOS and the Lions, of those experiencing knife crime, and fighting for change. Through August and September I will be meeting people across our community. I know there are many more groups and individuals doing important work in this area, or experiencing this tragic issue first-hand. If that is you, please get in touch – I want to hear from you.”
Jones and her constituency staff will be closely monitoring the inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org, or taking calls at 020 7219 2963 from anyone who wishes to take part in the Croydon Voice programme.
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