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Funding for youth crime police unit cut in half

Westminster "integrated gangs unit" set to fall foul of system shake up

27 October, 2017 — By William McLennan

Karen Buck

A UNIT dedicated to preventing youngsters falling into violent crime could see its funding cut by more than half under proposals from the Mayor’s office.

Changes to the way that crime prevention funding is allocated could see Westminster’s share cut by as much as 56 per cent, with the lauded Integrated Gangs Unit expected to bear much of the burden.

It comes as new figures show that Westminster is among the worst affected by a rise in moped crime, with an average of 44 offences committed each week.

The death of 28-year-old Abdul Samad, who was stabbed outside his family home in Little Venice on October 16, has shocked his neighbours and led to questions over a rise in crime.

Police said his killers were riding a moped and had targeted him for his mobile phone.

Westminster North Labour MP Karen Buck said she was “very concerned” by the proposed funding cut and would be “making representations” to Sophie Linden, the deputy mayor for policing.

She said she would be happy to join forces with Westminster Council, but added: “I don’t think Westminster put any of their own money in, though, so as we have moved down the league table for youth violence, according to the Met, other areas are getting a bigger share.

“It’s another reason we need to push back against Met cuts and I’m afraid the Conservatives can’t keep willing the ends – cutting public spending – and then crying foul when those cuts mean hurting services.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to spend £72million over the next four years through the London Crime Prevention Fund (LCPF), but will change the way the money is handed out, with Westminster likely to be one of the losers.

Ms Linden said: “Some of the most serious and complex challenges we face in policing our capital cannot be solved by one borough alone. This new approach to funding strikes a balance between maintaining crucial local programmes while sup- porting collaborative work between different areas and organisations.

“By working this way, we can deliver innovative services to Londoners in every corner of the capital and really make a difference to crime levels in our city.”

A council report on the changes last month said: “Further discussions are taking place on the impact of these changes on those services currently largely funded by the LCPF, most notably the Integrated Gangs Unit.”

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