20 May at St Andrew’s Church Short St SE1 8LJ

I was invited to attend to discuss the work of the Safer Neighbourhood Boards across London and that I was the Vice Chair of Southwark. I also informed the group that I was an independent Police Advisor so my knowledge of working with the Police is good and has been a long lasting relationship with them in Southwark.

Another reason for attending, was that I lead the community response to Stop & Search which is of interest to many and challenged by the community.

I took notes from comments made by the audience, relating to knife crime and how to reduce it. The following are bullet points of such comments and some solutions to the current issues:
• Counselling walk in sessions for young people who need to talk when they are ready to
• Youth groups are getting fewer and don’t have the right things available to interest all
• Communication at home; bring back some family time for all. Everyone is too busy to stop and share their day. This will encourage parents and young people to listen to each others concerns before they get too difficult to manage alone
• Continual defence against youth being stereotyped by Authority and older communities
• Self worth and identity issues cause a sense of vulnerability which can lead to gang involvement if in the wrong place with the wrong people
• Cultural differences: such as looking at someone in the eyes or not? Demeanour is often misconstrued by authority
• Discipline v abuse? Where does the line get crossed by some communities who believe in smacking
• Set of rules at home isn’t naturally what young people use when they are at school or socialising. Different boundaries in different contexts
• Rules are being broken which causes the framework to fall apart. Each culture has their own interpretation, but the main issue is that the British way isn’t strong enough to support these young people who become confused about their social values. Their own heritage values and what the British ones are don’t back each other up and young people are left without direction
• Young people don’t know how to voice their concerns when they feel disrespected and the depth of these issues are difficult to understand and explain to others. There is no simple explanation which is why there is so much frustration leading to anger amongst young people in some cases
• What can parents do to make it better for their children?
• Social media is an extra layer of concern that can be detrimental to young people who are defending themselves in all aspects of their lives and this highlights it

Parents interpretation about knife crime:

They want better communication with their children
They take responsibility for their welfare
If parents don’t do well- it reflects badly on the children

Young people’s views:

Learn how to manage your anger
Keep the rules inside the house the same outside the house (respect)
Not all parents think the same- they have to learn too
Put yourselves in our shoes
Don’t stereotype us or be judgmental with us
We need to learn more about intergenerational differences

The day’s consultation was well attended and the audience were actively contributing in an insightful way about wanting to make a positive approach to stopping violence amongst young people.

I wrote this record of the day because I explained I would be attending a meeting with senior Police officers this week at NSY. I felt they needed to know their hard work was being heard as they had made the effort to attend and be part of this community response to knife crime.
I will also reply to them after that meeting.

Avril Jones (S&S community lead Southwark)

SSNB Southwark
S&S community lead Southwark

22 May 2017