Islington Council targets gangs – and moped thieves – in new crime plan

Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington executive member for children and families. Picture: Islington Council

Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington executive member for children and families. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Archant

Islington Council will target young people on the fringes of gangs to stop them being sucked into the borough’s moped crime epidemic.

The town hall has today announced its “working together for a safer Islington” scheme, a blueprint for tackling youth crime up until 2020.

This will focus on early intervention by working to stop young people joining gangs – and subsequently commiting offences like using mopeds to steal phones and carrying knives.

In the last financial year, 2,417 moped-related offences were recorded in Islington: the most in London by a margin of 590.

And Cllr Joe Caluori, the town hall’s children and families leader, said: “These crimes are overwhelmingly committed by a hard-core group of about 95 repeat offenders.

“We will focus on early intervention with young people at risk of getting involved. We can make the most difference by stopping them doing it in the first place. The best way is to get them to understand the risks they are taking. They could end up hurting someone else, hurting themselves or even losing their life. If we can keep them aware, we’ll make a difference in the long term.”

But Cllr Caluori, who stressed the importance of not “demonising” the majority of our youngsters who steer clear of disroder, added: “We need the police to prioritise this. There will be tough targets in reducing moped enabled crime, and it’s going to require a really concerted effort.

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“We also need to target the adults exploiting these young people for their own benefit. They are targeting vulnerable people and getting them to do their dirty work. We don’t just want to see teenagers arrested if they are out stealing on mopeds – we want to arrest the adults as well.”

From this month, the “working together” scheme will see an outreach team hit Islington’s streets and estates on Friday and Saturday nights as part of the intervention work.

Part of the team is from the St Giles Trust. Bernie Kastner, from the youth offending charity, said: “Our approach of using those who have ‘been there’ themselves means they can engage the most excluded young people, challenge negative thinking and behaviour where necessary and offer support when needed.”