Camden’s top cop makes fighting youth crime his top priority

The borough commander renews his pledge after a man deies in a double stabbing in Kilburn

Camden’s police borough commander has pledged to make tackling youth crime his top priority after Kilburn was rocked by a double stabbing.

Speaking about youth crime and gangs, Chief Superintendant John Sutherland said: “I don’t think it is in any way a definitive characteristic of Camden, but it is a policing challenge and it is our number one policing priority.

“There are a small proportion of young people who do carry knives and will use them.

“Young people are very aware of their neighbourhoods and territory. You do get some cross border gang tensions, but in my experience in Camden the rivalries tend to be intra borough rather than inter borough.

“However boroughs are increasingly working together across these boundaries.”

His comments came two weeks after Milad Golmakani, 22, was stabbed to death in the blazing afternoon sun on the Abbey estate, off Abbey road, Kilburn.

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A 17-year-old boy is still recovering in hospital after he was found stabbed outside a shop in nearby Boundary Road in what is thought to be a related attack.

Chief Supt Sutherland would not say whether he thought the attacks were gang related, but he acknowledged that postcode rivalry between youths was a problem.

He warned that the ages of youths involved in suspected gang violence falling to ‘horrifying’ levels – with children as young as 11 suspects in some murder cases in London.

He said: “In a civilised society we should be utterly horrified. That ought to stop us in our tracks.

“The level of violence young people are prepared to use is also much greater. And the speed with which situations escalated has also become much swifter.”

And in a stark warning about the dangers of new technology such as twitter and Facebook, he added: “There is a strong connection with new technology. In the age of instant messaging, texting and Facebook it matters not if the rumours are true, it can become a version of the truth within minutes.

“That can lead to situations escalating very quickly without anybody having the time or space to be reasonable.”

He added: “Gangs are a problem that has been a generation or more in the making and therefore my take more than a generation to resolve.”

Six people have been arrested in connection with the double stabbing in Kilburn. A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with murder and attempted murder.