Caroline Selman

Tackling Violence: Councillor Caroline Selman, Hackney’s cabinet member for community safety, policy & the voluntary sector. Photograph: Hackney Council.

A Hackney forum on gun and knife crime has received an initial response from the council’s community safety chief.

The Hackney North & Stoke Newington Labour Ethnic Minority Forum (EMF) published a list of proposals on 26 July designed to address the rise in violent crime in London this year.

Over 20 policy ideas were included in the list, including the allocation of extra funding to outreach programmes, investment to promote mental health and emotional wellbeing in schools, and the opening a dedicated hotline for community members to report “suspicious or sudden changes in their neighbourhoods”.

Cllr Caroline Selman (Lab, Woodberry Down), Hackney Council’s cabinet member for community safety, policy and the voluntary sector, is responsible for presenting the outcomes of the meeting to the council.

In comments made to the Citizen, Cllr Selman said: “Over the last few months I have met and engaged with a wide range of groups in relation to serious violence.

“I am consistently struck by how Hackney is home to people across the community who care deeply about making a Hackney a safer place.

“Similarly it was extremely useful to listen to the thoughts, perspectives and views of those in attendance at the EMF event.

“As a council we take tackling violence extremely seriously – in doing so, it’s important that we listen to a range of voices, experiences and views.

“A formal response to the EMFs submission will be provided in due course.”

The EMF also echoed concerns on the Metropolitan Police’s use of the Gang Matrix system, a database of 3,800 persons of interest set up in the wake of the 2011 London riots – which an Amnesty International report found to be racially discriminatory and in breach of human rights law.

The document asks Hackney Council to consider how it can mitigate the risk of discrimination locally.

In response to the EMF’s suggestion that the council and schools ought to cater more for those not attending university, a Town Hall spokesperson said: “The council runs a large in-house apprenticeship programme for over 100 local people, ranging from opportunities in youth work to finance, housing and ICT.

“There is also the Hackney 100, a programme where young people get the chance to do paid work experience in local businesses.

“Through our youth service, Young Hackney, we offer careers advice to young people not in education, employment or training, in addition to the careers advice all young people in Hackney get in school.

“This includes one-to-one careers guidance, leadership programmes, and a series of inspiring events throughout the year, focused on raising awareness of different careers and broadening young people’s horizons.

“Later this month, we are running a careers fair at Hackney Town Hall for those who aren’t sure what they want to do after they leave school, where young people will be able to access one-to-one support from over 20 training providers.”

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