New summit to give Islington public a say on fighting crime

Islington's violence statistics

Islington's violence statistics - Credit: Archant

The first crime summit and a new independent panel to hold police to account has been announced as serious violent crime increases.

Smartphone thefts now account for a quarter of all offences in the borough.

Next month Islington’s top police officer, Det Ch Supt Gerry Campbell, and the town hall crime chief, Cllr Paul Convery, will ask the public to help them shape how they tackle crime in.

At the same time the new Safer Neighbourhoods Board (SNB) will be elected, which Cllr Convery promises will have real powers to hold police and the council to account over crime.

He said: “The summit seems like the right thing to do. In May 2010 things in this borough were getting out of control.

“There were heartbreaking murders of young people, gangs were forming, and the drugs trade was exploding. We have cracked down on drugs, violence and anti-social behaviour and it’s working. But we don’t have a monopoly on wisdom, and want to hear from public.”

The panel will be made up of 24 people – four elected at the meeting on March 22, eight drawn from the Safer Neighbourhood Panels and 12 from the council, police, student representatives and other bodies.

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“This will not be a toothless talking shop while I am around,” said Cllr Convery.

The announcement follows a police presentation of the latest crime statistics at the town hall on Monday, which showed serious violent crime and alcohol-related crime and violence are all on the up, as well as mobile phone thefts at various hotspots.

Cllr Convery said: “In the main, crime is coming down. It’s not an exact science but it’s down about eight or nine per cent – which isn’t bad. Serious youth violence is also coming down, which is really very encouraging.

“It’s not completely gone, there are still some gangs hanging around. But they are less organised, with less leaders because most of them are locked up. And if not, they are under severe sanctions which mean they can hardly leave their homes.”

Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of Islington’s opposition Lib Dem group, said: “It’s a bit rich to say crime was out of control when Labour took over.

“How long had there been a Labour government at that time? It doesn’t sound like they’re taking much responsibility.

“This comes from a council who spend more on spin doctors than community safety.”