Another announcement from the council appears to confirm the abandonment of the authority’s attempt to establish a violence reduction unit, and showed Mayor Jason Perry abrogating responsibility for dealing with one of the most pressing issues in the borough today.
In 2021, Croydon recorded the most murdered teenagers of any London borough. That year five teens, the youngest aged just 14, lost their lives on the streets of Croydon. And in 72 hours over one weekend last month, there were four incidents of youth stabbings in Croydon, a chilling reminder of the recent death toll.
The council’s response has been to offer a meagre fund of just £60,000 to community organisations “to support young people at risk of becoming involved in violence or antisocial behaviour, and help them to stay safe”.
This comes in the same month that Mayor Perry has cut all funding grants to the borough’s voluntary sector.
The fund is less than three-quarters of the amount paid each year in allowances to part-time Perry.
The council chief executive, Katherine Kerswell, is paid a salary of more than three times the amount being offered in the anti-violence fund.
In 2019, before covid and the council’s financial crash, the then Labour-controlled council created a new role, a director of violence reduction network, on a salary of approaching twice the fund’s £60,000. They handed the job to the completely under-qualified Sarah Hayward, who had been ousted as the Labour leader at Camden Council. Many suspected Tony Newman, the discredited council leader, of doing a favour for a Blairite chum.
Despite being in the role full-time, Hayward delivered the council’s community safety strategy, a legally required document under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, more than two years after it had been due. The “new” strategy, once it appears for 2022 to 2024, was barely changed from the old strategy, and even relied on outdated data from the 2011 Census.
After the council’s financial collapse, Kerswell moved Hayward on, from one well-paid interim role to the next acting directorship. Six months here, nine months there. It looked suspiciously like she didn’t know what to do with Hayward.
Then, for 11 months, Hayward was “director of corporate improvement”, whatever that’s supposed to mean, until February this year, at which point she took on a new job at another local authority. Hayward is now “executive director” at Slough, another bankrupt borough that must be more desperate to recruit staff even than Croydon is.
Since March 2021, Kerswell’s Croydon Council has made no announcement of a replacement for Hayward as director of violence reduction. Any notion of violence reduction appears to have been abandoned, clearly not a priority for those in charge of the ivory tower that is Fisher’s Folly.
Instead, they have come up with a woefully inadequate pot of cash, in an effort to outsource some of the responsibility for curtailing youth violence to the voluntary sector, the same voluntary sector that Mayor Perry has completely defunded in his latest council budget which included his 15per cent Council Tax hike.
The fund, according to the council, is for local organisations “to bid for grants to deliver targeted activities for young people in two priority areas – the town centre and New Addington”.
The council press release states: “The funding is aimed at groups that have a trusted relationship with local communities and a strong track record in helping to improve young people’s lives.
“The grant programme is part of the council’s commitment to work in close partnership with residents, businesses and the voluntary, faith and communities sector to help children and young people stay safe.” Note that: a “commitment”. Just not much of one.
The money is coming from London’s Violence Reduction Unit and “will be available through an application process with organisations able to come together to bid if they wish to partner up”.
Applications can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org before a deadline of April 16.
“The funding will be awarded to help young people between the ages of 12 and 25, with organisations providing tailored support to those who are drawn into anti-social behaviour or at risk of being exploited,” the council said.
“One part of the project will be to work with people over the age of 18, helping them with things like finding a job, dealing with substance misuse, and addressing the underlying issues that may lead to getting involved in crime.
“Another part of the project will focus on young people between the ages of 12 and 18 who are vulnerable to exploitation and criminal activity.
“Croydon Council will work closely with local outreach teams, the police, and schools to identify areas where young people spend time, and engage with them in a positive way.
“Regular meetings will be held with partners to track the progress of this endeavour.
Overall, the project aims to make the community safer by providing support and resources to young people who are most at risk of being drawn into anti-social behaviour or being exploited.”
Perry, meanwhile, washed his hands of dealing with the issues, claiming that Croydon is “fortunate” – his choice of words – “to have many local organisations who know their communities well and are best placed to reach young people”.
Read more: Judge orders CEO Kerswell to face tribunal over racism claims
Read more: Here’s the Mayor and 33 Croydon Tory councillors who THREE times voted in favour of hitting you with a 15% Council Tax hike
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We cannot expect council services and the police to fix what parents and communities should be doing. The council needs to focus on delivering the needed services as a priority.
I can appreciate the sentiment
So surely it is a Council service to provide effective parking 24hr enforcement? But they do not.
Anti social behaviours continue leading to disabled people unable to get in and out of homes, lost appontments ending up as hospital inpatients, met with violance and assault when people illegally parking are asked politely to move lending to multiple calls to 999 and multiple use of Police resource. Some assaults serious and with weapons
So noise pollution is a council service? yep 9- 5 mon to fri and no visits – this in effect is a non enforcement and even if the poor few that man that department can get out it will take over 6 months for enforcement.
I believe I ahve already posted exactly how useless that department is.
Planning enforcement – Mr Penn is recorded as stating one should be patient. Yep 3 years and ongoing – what a joke.
After school? find them along with the youth clubs all had their funds cut. Believe it or not Child welfare is a council statutory service.
In school 1 in 10 teachers assaulted – perhaps due to cuts to education budget from the Local authority?
Housing? Regina road says it all
What about the purported developments – one Brothel – one crack house – and one indescribable balls up – so three out of three!
LTN moved drug selling from one part to another and lended to a gang war over turf
Emergency housing – single parents in one room in a B+B with rodents fleas and drugs users on site and sharing facilities that have drugs paraphernalia including needles in bathrooms that children have to use unattended as parent is looking after the younger one in that single room.
All of this is regularly reported and this Council has been pulled up for and so much more.
All of this impacts on families people behaviours to others and increased crime in general in the community. That has been the proven case for years as any [erson researching crime and the causes of crime knows.
Have a serious look at the processes required to access any service as either a tenant or a homeowner.
Trsut me not even landlords are in favour of this shower and many Developers (the good ones) are also very unhappy about the incompetence.
The are areas still working hard and sometimes delivering, but that is in spite of the extreme conditions they have to endure
So yes you are right – The Council needs to be focusing on service provision not creating barriers to families, detriment to its residents, degration of the community and lining their pockets whilst causing so much damage.
Instead they fail to consult properly, or at all, fail to communicate and then only in part, and continue to waste our money in paying an irrational Government loan that repalced real funding.
They are patting themselves for denying a referendum jacking up rates by an usurious 15% and holding award ceremonies for its chums that stood silently by watching Fisher, Newman and now Kerswll make a jax (toilet) of Croydon Borough and flogged assets that were placed in Trust for us the residents. In Trust but apparantly trust laws do not apply to Councils that flog assets to pay of debts they ran up . If this was not a Council Executive and a person they would be in court before you could say ”focus on delivering the needed services as a priority”
John – Hello, police? I’d like to report an armed robbery in progress. Two men have just gone into the post offi
Croydon cop shop – Let me stop you there, sir. You cannot expect the police to fix what parents and communities should be doing. If you wouldn’t mind having a word with the gentlemen, or their parents, that would be great. Thank you for calling, have a nice day, bye!
….what are you doing in your community, John? Got any funding to help you do it?
We have found that part time does have a specialist skill in his Mayoralty. Passing the buck.
Part-time Perry isn’t bothered. Those most affected aren’t part of Croydon Tories socio-ethnic supporter base. Nationally the Tories in government only woke up to knife crime when a white girl was murdered.
It is like Croydon and its Residents have been shot by the Conservatives stabbed by Newman and swindled endlessly by Fisher thru’ to Perry, all enabled and winked at by by the Central Government.
But to add insult to those injuries we have Politicians and Administrators that as well as inflicting life threatening wounds determine that we are not as human beings deserving of saving.
They pile people into area in ever increasing numbers without actually putting in resource to support that over population and apparantly do not tell the truth about it. Then they cut social resources also, cut medical resource, cut enforcment resource, cut child support, cut legal support, cut after school support, cut Mental health supportcut everything into virtual non existance, so that when the marrow is running dry, the knives are in bodies and children are dead, they double down and cut seed funding to local chariities and community bodies and leave them on their knee’s if not outright comatose.
Then just like a carpetbagger thinking on the lines of Marie Antoinette – feel they can dole out a few crumbs of cake whilst other carpetbaggers walk away after trousering 100s of millions.
He offers a band aid after cutting the Boroughs arteries.
This council and mayor’s (not worth the capital letters) hypocricy knows no bounds.
Despite this Councils and Perry’s cuts, his inane comment of – ”fortunate to have many local organisations who know their communities well and are best placed to reach young people” are true.
There are so many people in Croydon that work for the public good – just not in positions of authority and mainly low paid or unpaid. They are also unheard of and unsung.
There are many people who work at the council, social services, enforcement and in many public service positions and in all the emergency services in Croydon that are also low paid, hard working, overstretched, and underfunded. We are fortunate to have them albeit in ever decreasing numbers.
If Perry is really concerned about crime then he should look a little closer to home and find out where all the money went. Councillors, planners, and the CEO have a lot to answer for but all we have is delayed or missing reports, dodgy planning and investment decisions and a wall of silence.
Is Kerswell still here?
Zero leadership. Zero decision-making. Zero planning. Zero ideas. Zero usefulness. Kerswell is pissing our money away:
“…After the council’s financial collapse, Kerswell moved Hayward on, from one well-paid interim role to the next acting directorship. Six months here, nine months there. It looked suspiciously like she didn’t know what to do with Hayward.Then, for 11 months, Hayward was “director of corporate improvement”, whatever that’s supposed to mean, until February this year, at which point she took on a new job at another local authority…”
Kerswell is useless.
I heard Croydon’s crime and anti social behaviour team is not the shining example it once was. Bringing in an ex Labour leader to run the restructured Community Safety team(VRN) was a utter disaster.
All the good work has been undone.