Following a series of serious knife crime incidents in this part of London, local Conservative Councillor Selina Seesunkur, wrote two letters, endorsed by Conservative Council Group Leader Cllr Alan Siggers; one to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP and another to the Mayor of London.
Cllr Seesunkur (Larkswood Ward) said:
“Knife possession is most common amongst 12 to 16 year olds and we all want to see change happen on our streets, especially in Waltham Forest, to tackle knife crime so our children feel safe.”
“I wrote to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid to ask about key areas of funding for the police, sentencing and definitions of possession and as policing is the responsibility of the Mayor of London, in the letter to Sadiq Khan, I asked why he had he failed to consider the alternative budget proposed by the GLA Conservatives. It is my firm belief the Mayor of London, should be making better use of innovation and be working far more closely with local London communities to combat knife crime.”
Local MP Iain Duncan Smith and Cllrs Selina Seesunkur, Alan Siggers, Kay Isa and Roy Berg recently met with the Borough Commander for Waltham Forest and the senior team at the Council to discuss the latest knife crime incidents and the complex issues which can often lead our young people to become subject to the pressures of gang membership and exploitation. Cllr Seesunkur spoke to officers who go out on the beat to understand everyday issues from their perspective.
At the invitation of the Home Secretary, Conservative Councillors Selina Seesunkur, Deputy Group Leader Tim James and Group Leader Cllr Alan Siggers were invited to Parliament to meet with the Home Secretary, with Chingford & Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith on Tuesday [16th April 2019], to discuss the specific problems in Waltham Forest, whilst the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has chosen to stay silent
To address specific concerns about Waltham Forest, the group put together supported by the Centre for Social Justice, a Waltham Forest 10-Point Plan to present to the Home Secretary. During the meeting Councillors asked for a wider review of the Borough resources to ensure the police were properly supported and asked the Home Secretary to visit Waltham Forest soon, which he agreed to do.
Iain Duncan Smith MP who had provided resources from the Centre of Social Justice and arranged for his local Councillors to meet the Home Secretary commented:
“The meeting yesterday was a brilliant opportunity to point out the good work Waltham Forest Council Officers are doing, particularly in the area of early invention with their pilot LifeSkills Programme.
“Waltham Forest is the is the first Local Authority in the UK to run this programme and we are going to do everything we can to try to find more funds to help support roll out of this programme across the Borough. I look forward to Sajid visiting Chingford & Woodford Green soon to be able to see this programme in action.”
Sajid Javid said he would write to the Mayor of London and Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service to ask them to review the effectiveness of the recent Borough Command Unit merger with Newham and pressure on police resources.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said,
“I have been clear that I will do everything in my power to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatising communities and claiming too many young lives.
“The police already have a range of measures they are using to keep our streets safe, but there is more we can do to help them in this battle. I have listened to their calls and will be introducing new orders to stop gang members carrying knives in the first place.
“It is vital we continue to focus on improving the law enforcement response while at the same time steering young people away from criminal activity in the first place.”
Cllr Seesunkur asked the Home Secretary to provide parents and communities with guidance within the new knife free campaign. Having spoken to parents at a community forum, she reported that they were afraid that children could get caught up in violence just by simply walking home.
Cllr Seesunkur said,
“Parents and the community have a key role to play in helping to combat knife crime and they should have guidance provided as to what they can do if they suspect their child or their child’s friend of carrying a knife.”
Cllr Alan Siggers, Conservative Council Group Leader and Cllr Tim James Conservative Deputy Leader for Waltham Forest said:
“This has been a great chance to build on the good work already underway by both the Council and the police. Really constructive meeting with the Home Secretary, he has made some positive commitments to Waltham forest, and we are please he has agreed to visit. We now need the same response from Sadiq Khan.”