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Boris Johnson anoints Ray Lewis as London's first gang czar

NEW JOB: Boris, left, and Ray back in 2008 (PA)

LONDON MAYOR Boris Johnson has appointed a new gangs czar to help tackle crime in the capital.

Former deputy mayor Ray Lewis was given the “special brief”, in addition to his role as mentoring adviser.

The appointment to the new role comes after an Evening Standard Frontline London campaign, which highlighted issues around city’s gang culture.

The paper has partnered with children and young people charity, Kid’s Company, to help ex-gang members turn their lives around by backing them to establish and grow viable social enterprises.

The initiative has already awarded three £10,000 start-up grants from their Dispossessed Fund.

Lewis has called for a gangs summit in the spring, and has organised a round table at City Hall on October 25 to bring together thinkers and community leaders to address the issue.

He told the Standard: “Let me be candid, your campaign has revitalised our drive at City Hall to make a difference. The Mayor, Stephen [Greenhalgh] and I welcome your initiative.

“Boris regards tackling gangs as a top priority and has asked me to be his gangs czar. Your initiative has highlighted the need for more targeted prevention work and that much more needs to be done.”

Deputy Mayor for policing and crime Greenhalgh added: “We have this issue of extreme violence on the streets in pockets of London and that is where I am looking to Ray.

“If you live close to those pockets of extreme violence, it takes away all your life, liberty and happiness. It is shocking and it has shocked me deeply.”

The Mayor’s office spends £3m a year on funding 25 gang prevention and diversion projects but is looking to do much more.

US gangs expert Professor Philip Leaf will be the keynote speaker at the event this Friday (October 25).

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