Elections 2018: Hackney Lib Dems would plough £1.5m a year into ‘innovative’ unit to combat the roots of violent crime

PUBLISHED: 17:33 25 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:33 25 April 2018

Pauline Pearce (centre) with council candidates for De Beauvoir ward Darren Martin (left) and Becket Mcgrath

Pauline Pearce (centre) with council candidates for De Beauvoir ward Darren Martin (left) and Becket Mcgrath

liberal democrats

Lib Dems in Hackney have come up with a strategy to tackle violent crime at its roots, by ploughing £1.5million a year into an innovative unit to treat the causes of the current deadly epidemic.

While Hackney Council currently funds its integrated gangs unit (IGU) with £621,000 annually plus a share of the youth offending team’s budget, the Hackney violence reduction unit (HVRU) would see £713,000 to fund an extra 10 police officers each year, as well as £752,000 to employ more youth workers.

De Beauvoir ward candidate Darren Martin came up with the idea when a similar project that slashed crime levels in Glasgow caught his eye. While Scotland was considered the most violent country in the developed world in 2005 before its VRU was implemented, murder rates have fallen by 47pc in the past decade.

No one was killed with a knife in Scotland in 2017 – compared with the 39 fatal stabbings in London since the New Year.

Darren told the Gazette: “The mayor Philip Glanville said at a hustings that the council already has the same kind of thing, but the IGU doesn’t take in the wider remit to look into why we are living in such a violent society.

“If you look at Hackney in particular we have the acid attacks, and schools have a much higher rate for exclusion for violence towards members of staff and children – it’s painting a picture of a violent society.

“This is about changing attitudes towards violence in general, and it’s not just looking at the gang aspect, which is the tragic thing that happens and makes the headlines, but it starts at an early age and is about things like people being exposed to domestic violence.

“That starts to build up an attitude that violence is OK and an acceptable reaction to deal with a situation, which we know it isn’t.”

Darren has been talking with bosses at the VRU, and thinks £1.5m would be plenty to make a difference here. In comparison, £1m was invested in the VRU for the whole of Scotland in 2017.

“We wanted to make sure with the budget it was based on numbers that would make a difference. We can focus our efforts on trying to arrest our way out of the problem, or focus on forming a long-term way to change attitudes.”

The party also plans to build more council homes in Hackney and protect renters from being priced out of the borough, as well as helping homeless people.

The council’s crime chief Caroline Selman said the Lib Dems’ aren’t proposing “anything that the council isn’t already doing” however.

“The IGU was the first in the country to bring together all partners in one place to tackle gang violence while we have fought to maintain the second highest spending in London on universal youth provision,” she said.

“By working together over the past ten years, we have made significant progress in tackling gangs and violent crime - but as the tragic deaths in Hackney and across London have shown there is still more to do.”

Latest Hackney Stories

The Argentinean last lost three games in a row when he was at Southampton and he responded positively back then

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has been speaking ahead of his side’s Europa League clash with FC Vorskla Poltava at the Emirates. Read every word of what he had to say...

Arsenal’s experienced Stephan Lichtsteiner has been speaking ahead of the club’s opening Europa League match of the season against FC Vorskla Poltava. Read on for Layth Yousif’s report from London Colney on Wednesday afternoon.

The centre back hailed the current strength in depth at Orient

Two goals in the final five minutes at the San Siro turned the game in favour of the Italian side

Leyton Orient suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Bostik South Central outfit Cheshunt in a friendly at Theobalds Lane last night.

A family’s backyard has been turned into a tropical paradise on Alan Titchmarsh’s ITV show Love Your Garden, so they can “create wonderful memories there” with their severely disabled son.


Middlesex opener Sam Robson admitted to a mixture of emotions after scoring his first century of the season on day one of their County Championship Division Two match with Derbyshire.


‘Fostering has been really positive for me, I have no regrets whatsoever.’

Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists