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Action plan brings together council and community to tackle youth crime

Islington Council has today continued to pledge to work with the community to tackle youth crime as it launches a pioneering new action plan for the borough.

“Working Together for a Safer Islington” is thought to be the only youth crime plan in England to be embedded within safeguarding practice.  It sets out a blueprint for tackling youth crime until 2020 including:

  • Building on our Integrated Gangs Team to increase focus on early intervention, such as working with young people on the edge of gang involvement to deter them from getting involved with gangs
  • Tackling “county lines” drug-dealing, including piloting a new risk tool to track young people involved in county lines, and give information to local taxis and hire car companies about county lines exploitation
  • Pushing for bigger focus on adults who exploit young people to carry out criminal activities for the adults’ benefit
  • Developing integrated youth teams aligning with the wider community and schools, to help build up local links
  • Promote the development of ‘safe zones’ across Islington as places young people know they will be safe and can call or ask for help

This month also sees the start of new late-night outreach work on Friday and Saturdays over the summer.  The assertive outreach team, including youth workers from St Giles Trust, will work until late on Fridays and Saturday advising and supporting vulnerable young people who are out over the weekend.

The youth workers’ come from similar backgrounds to the young people, and they have an understanding of their situations and the actions that can arise from them. They will use a mix of their professional skills and first-hand experience to offer both practical and emotional support.

Bernie Kastner, Community Services Manager at St Giles Trust, said, “We are pleased to be working with Islington Council to bring our expertise and highly credible team to help keep young people engaged in positive activities and diverted from crime and anti-social behaviour.   Our approach of using those who have ‘been there’ themselves means they can engage the most excluded young people, effectively challenge negative thinking and behaviour where necessary and  offer the right support when it is needed. 

Islington Council recognises that community based action to reduce risk in children’s lives and enhance protection can enable them to reach their potential and also reduce the chances of involvement in crime.

Young Mayor Diana Gomez said, “The Islington Youth Council recognises the importance of crime and safety and we strongly believe that the youth of today represent a measure of success or failure for every borough. We believe that the Youth Crime plan will significantly help young people as they are the learners of today and the teachers of tomorrow.”

Councillor Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children and Families said, “The vast majority of children and young in Islington grow up to achieve their goals and stay clear of crime and disorder, and it's important we don't demonise young people. But we also have to recognise that we have a group of young people, many of whom have grown up in extremely challenging circumstances, who are entrenched in offending behaviour. 

"We've seen reductions in first time entrants into the criminal justice system and we will continue to invest more than any other London Borough in services for young people but we need this plan to make a decisive difference in reducing the entrenched offending behaviour that blights our community.

"An important part of this is the whole community coming together to put a stop to older criminals grooming young people to get involved in gangs and manipulating them into committing serious offences that only benefit the gang masters at the expense of the lives of vulnerable young people.”