Brent has been offered almost £240,000 to fight gang and youth crime
PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 December 2011
But campaigner fears money may not be spent in the ‘right way’
Brent has been offered almost £240,000 in funding after they were identified as one of 22 local authorities nationwide that were “most affected by gangs and youth violence”.
The Home Office findings are calculated on youth admissions to hospital, levels of gang violence and the population of 10 to 24-year-olds.
But Patrick Jacobs, chairman of Not Another Drop, the borough’s anti-crime volunteer group, expressed concerns that such large funding is available to local councils.
Speaking to the Times he said: “The funding should be given to groups such as ours who know what they’re doing and have the relevant experience.
“It’s frustrating because I don’t think the council will know how best to spend it.
“They will just draft in some “expert” to talk at a school, or organise a football match, but won’t get to the heart of the problem.”
Not Another Drop, who are based at Wembley Point in Harrow Road, Stonebridge, was set up in 2003 and launched the yearly peace march which took place in the borough until it was quietly axed last year.
The organisation also visits schools and runs mediation sessions between warring youths.
The council said the offer of extra funding shows the “excellent” track record it has for dealing with youth-related violence but added that no decision had been made on how the funding will be spent.
However, Mr Jacobs said that violence was a continuing problem and something that needed constant attention. He said: “It’s about continuing and constant work and not just going on to the streets and making noises when something happens.”
Previously, the Times reported that Brent had seen a 16 per cent increase in injuries related to knife crime.
A council spokesman said they took the issue of gangs and violence very seriously.
He added: “We will be discussing with neighbouring boroughs about how we can co-operate further to address gangs. We will be working closely with the Home Office in the commissioning of any services in the future.”
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