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Sadiq Khan launches anti-violence plan inspired by Glasgow

VIOLENT CRIME: The mayor of London's new plan to deal with the capital's serious crime has been inspired by the Glasgow approach

THE MAYOR of London has announced a new anti-violence initiative based on the Glasgow public health model.

Sadiq Khan has today launched a new unit to help stop the spread of serious violent crime in the capital. The violence reduction unit will be comprised of health, police and local government specialists who will work together on early intervention and increasing the capacity to deal with the long terms of knife and gun crime.

Khan said: “The causes of violent crime are extremely complex, involving deep-seated societal problems like poverty, social alienation, mental ill-health and a lack of opportunity. Since I became Mayor, I’ve been working tirelessly with local councils, charities and community groups on a public health approach to tackling serious violence, but it’s clear we need to do more to support them in driving down not just knife crime, but all forms of violent crime.

“I’m leading from the front in London and using my convening powers to bring together specialists in health and criminal justice to coordinate a new Violence Reduction Unit. This will build on the public health approach we have already been working on at City Hall and will expand the work of the knife crime strategy as part of a long-term approach to tackling violent crime.”

The new unit will work to improve coordination between the Metropolitan Police, local authorities, youth services, health services, criminal justice agencies and City Hall.

In addition to fostering better working practices between the authorities, Khan has also pledged an initial £500,000 towards the establishment of the unit.

The initiative has been developed over the last few months following extensive research carried out by the mayor and his team into the successful methods used in Glasgow.

The mayor and his team have investigated how produce a similar response could be scaled up from Glasgow, a city of around 600,000 people, to work in London, a city of almost 9 million people.

Khan said: “We have listened and researched the public health approaches in cities like Glasgow, where their own long-term approach over more than a decade has delivered large reductions in violence. City Hall have spent time properly learning the lessons from Glasgow and developing plans to scale their approach up to meet the different needs and challenges we face in London.

“This new approach will work alongside the increased enforcement work being carried out by the Metropolitan Police. The Met commissioner and I have recently bolstered the Violent Crime Taskforce so it now has 272 officers focused solely on tackling violence in the worst affected areas. It will also complement my new £45 million Young Londoners Fund, which is providing young people with positive alternatives to crime and to help those caught up in gangs to get into employment and training.”

In recent months, Khan has faced repeated criticism for his response to the surge in violence across the capital.

He said that the violence reduction unit will not produce results immediately.

“The causes of violent crime are many years in the making and the solutions will take time. That’s why our new approach is focusing over the long-term.”

Scotland’s method of tackling high rates of knife crime has been viewed as a model for other countries battling with the issue.

The country reduced knife crime by adopting a public health approach to the issues, meaning it developed a coordinated response with health, education, social work and police sectors.

Niven Rennie, director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, said: “Scotland has shown that change is possible and we believe London can do the same. We have been happy to support London in the development of a violence reduction unit and will continue to offer our help and support whenever it is requested. Start with the belief that violence is preventable and anything is possible."

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