Pauline Pearce is running for Hackney Mayor. Photograph: Hackney Lib Dems

The “Hackney Heroine” of the London riots is running to be Mayor of Hackney with a vow to tackle knife crime by supporting young people.

Liberal Democrat Pauline Pearce, 52, who is also standing for a council seat in Brownswood ward, is proposing a “Violence Reduction Unit” based a similar policy in Scotland.

“It’s taking a public health approach to gun and knife crime and other crimes in the borough”, she told the Citizen, in an interview at Costa Coffee in Dalston.

“It’s a prevention rather than cure sort of thing”, she said. “It’s more about supporting, mentoring, before it gets to the stage that they do commit the crime and end up in jail.”

Pearce said a version of the scheme in Glasgow has “reduced crime by a mega amount”, and the policy should be tried since residents fear for their children’s safety.

“In the poorer areas, the estates, people are concerned about whether their child is going to come home at the end of school.

“It’s becoming the norm, and I don’t want it to be the norm in Hackney. Not on my watch.”

“These are youngsters that are coming from broken homes” she said. “Some of them, it’s peer pressure. Peer pressure and being dared.

“I’d open up the community centres, give the youths back their space.”

Pearce shares her party’s opposition to Brexit, saying residents “are really peeved” about Labour’s Diane Abbott voting to trigger Article 50, “considering Diane is MP for Hackney, and 78.1 per cent voted to Remain”.

Pearce is calling for retrofitting sprinklers in council houses to improve fire safety, saying: “We don’t want another Grenfell in Hackney.”

She also vowed to champion democracy, saying: “When I get elected I’m going to be the most ruthless mayor when it comes to transparency and making sure what the Labour councillors say they will do gets done.”

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team