Today I met the Riots Communities and Victims Panel who I invited to visit Southwark. The Panel are leading an independent review into the riots. I gave them my report, ‘After the Riots – The Way Forward’ which looks at the impact of the August riots on Camberwell and Peckham.
Having spoken extensively with local residents and businesses since the riots and held focus groups with young people, I conclude in the report that the government’s policies and actions run counter to what local people believe would help prevent the riots from happening again.
Local people think the three things that would make riots less likely in future are more youth services, less unemployment and more police.
But the government is cutting funding for youth services, standing by while unemployment rises, closing the local Jobcentre and cutting the number of police.
I am concerned that the riots should not be a reason to stigmatise young people from Peckham. While most of those charged with committing riot-related offences in Southwark were local young people, the overwhelming majority of young people in Southwark took no part in the riots, are decent, law abiding and ambitious to do well in their lives.
I am calling on the government to look again at cuts to youth services in Southwark, to step up efforts to reduce unemployment, to keep the local Jobcentre open and for a moratorium on cuts to police officers in Southwark.
You can read my report here.