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Nov 29 2017

Harrow Youth Parliament: Community Safety and Violence Vulnerability/Exploitation Strategy

Dear Editor

At Thursday’s meeting of full council, the Community Safety and Violence Vulnerability/Exploitation Strategy will be presented – after having been initially deferred from the council’s most recent meeting on the 28th September.

As a Youth Parliament, we were extremely concerned that the strategy simply did not include enough measures to prevent youth crime and to tackle its root causes. As a result, we developed a series of recommendations which we lobbied council officers and the administration to adopt.

This included a proposal to reintroduce a mentoring programme for vulnerable young people and those on the periphery of crime so that they could access meaningful and individualised support. In addition, we urged the council to introduce comprehensive awareness sessions for young people about the effects of anti-social behaviour.

Unfortunately what we were initially met with in September was a large amount of reluctance – it became clear that the council were unwilling to significantly alter the strategy before it was taken to September’s council meeting. Therefore, we successfully lobbied the leader of the opposition Councillor Paul Osborn and his group – as well the independent Councillor Georgia Weston – to table amendments to it. After a Labour Councillor then suggested that these alterations should be considered, a vote was held to defer the matter to Thursday’s meeting.

During this time, the strategy has been amended and we would like to thank the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Public Health and Equalities Cllr Varsha Parmar for the work that she has done to ensure this. However, we believe that there are still some issues with it and most significantly, the extent to which it commits the council to providing sessions which enhance vulnerable young people’s self confidence and resilience.

This is vital to any efforts to prevent gang crime and therefore, we would urge all councillors to seek to amend aspects of the strategy so that more committal language is included.

Dara Foody
Harrow Youth Parliament

Footnote: November’s Council Meeting is on Thursday, November 30th at 7.30 in the Council Chamber. Background papers can be found here.

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1 comment

  1. Sonoo Malkani

    Well done Dara and the Harrow Youth Parliament.Very pleased you are pushing hard so that important issues concerning our local youth including mentoring and other measures to help prevent our youth getting into youth crime ,as well as into gang crime and anti social behaviour.

    It is very pleasing also to read that you have lobbied our Councillors and have had help from the opposition Leader Cllr Paul Osborn as well as his team,Independent Cllr Georgia Weston plus from Portfolio holder Varsha Parmar who is responsible for all safety issues in our borough.You will need to hang on to her tails and get much more done.

    As Vice Chair of Harrow Safer Neighbourhood Board,I would be delighted to hear from you or your HYP representative,at the earliest.He had promised to be in touch when we met on Remembrance Day.It is very important we have you represented on our Harrow Safer Neighbourhood Board(HSNB) and make your valuable contributions,as you have done so eloquently,in the past.

    Also,as Harrow Interfaith Executive Committee member,I would appreciate your representation on this group as well,to make sure we have youth issues/matters on our agenda right through the year.Important messages are conveyed through our Faith Groups to so many.Your anxieties are ours.Please think who might be a suitable candidate and contact me.You do not have to attend every meeting but will be welcomed whenever you can and kept in the loop.

    I am a firm believer that when we join hands and work in partnership for the same goals,we can definitely make a big difference.I know we are on the same page.

    Look forward to hearing from you very shortly.So proud of your works. Keep winning.

    Sonoo Malkani]
    spmakani@yahoo.co.uk
    Harrow Safer Neighbourhood Board (HSNB)
    Harrow Interfaith (HIF)

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