Tackling Violence On Our Streets: Letter to the Home Secretary Tuesday 3rd April 2018

Below is the text of a letter I sent to the Home Secretary on Tuesday 3rd April - less than 48 hours later this letter was out of date as there was another stabbing in Walthamstow on Thursday 5th April. I will share on here the response I receive from the Home Secretary to this correspondence as and when my office receives it. 

Dear Amber

I am writing to you following a series of gun and knife crime related incidents in my constituency, in which tragically a number of young residents have lost their lives. I’m writing to urgently request resourcing support for our local police and youth services to enable them to address the causes of this violence, and in particular to investigate the growing access by young children to firearms. 

In the last six months we have seen a wave of violent murders and assaults involving young BME residents in our community. These have involved the use of firearms and knives by children – with a fifteen year old arrested for a firearms offence only two weeks ago - and have caused fear amongst local residents and led to an escalation of violence within our area. Below is a chronology of the most serious incidents: 

  • 7 May 2017 – 17 year old Elijah Dornelly murdered in Walthamstow.  18 year old and 17 year old young residents convicted of stabbing him. 
  • 2nd November 2017 – 32 year old Muhammed Nawshad Kamal was attacked with acid by two young men in Walthamstow – hospitalised but survived.
  • 14th November 2017 – 18 year old stabbed in Subway restaurant – hospitalised but survived. Reports also made that a corrosive substance was used in this incident. 
  • 16th November 2017 – 18 year old Kacem Mokrane is stabbed in Walthamstow – he died on the 20th November in hospital.
  • 19th November 2017 – 17 year old stabbed in Walthamstow - hospitalised but survived. 
  • 5th February 2018 – 17 year old attends hospital with gun shot wounds following an incident in Walthamstow. 
  • 14th March 2018 – 20 year old Joseph Williams-Torres shot in Walthamstow and dies from his injuries. A 15 year old boy has been charged with his murder. 
  • 19th March 2018 – a 41 year old man is stabbed to death in Walthamstow- a 17 year old boy has been charged over this incident. 
  • 2nd April 2018 – 16 year old Amaan Shakoor shot in Walthamstow and dies from his injuries. His 15 year old friend who was with him was stabbed and hospitalised. 

Over the last eight years, I have watched as my local authority and local police have struggled valiantly with cuts to their budgets, seeking to try to keep together vital projects that help engage young residents in positive activities and maintain a policing presence. Drug dealers and organised gangs have targeted young children locally to engage them in their activities, and our services are struggling to support children who have been excluded from mainstream schooling who are then being groomed by these individuals. I fear that this shocking spate of incidents may continue without investment to support both police and youth service provision required to build relationships with the local community and younger residents to help disrupt these activies and encourage them to make positive life choices. 

As the enclosed documents show, I have previously written and met with representatives of the Mayor of London’s office about my concerns, and I have also raised the matter of police funding in parliament. So too, locally we have held workshops with younger residents to identify how best to support them and keep them safe as well as regular meetings with residents and the police to discuss these issues. Along with my colleagues from other North East London constituencies I would welcome an urgent meeting with you to discuss this issue, what resources will now be made available to help disrupt the criminal gangs targeting our young people and the need for an urgent investigation into how firearms have become easily accessible to young children in our city. 

I look forward to your response and to your assistance in keeping every member of our community in Walthamstow safe,