James Brokenshire has underlined the Government's commitment to tackling serious youth violence during a Commons debate. The Home Office Minister said that violent crime remained a stubborn feature of our society and that a range of measures were required. James highlighted the need for strong enforcement and said that the Government would be introducing gang injunctions to support the police in combating gang related violence.
But measures to strengthen the family and prevent young people becoming involved in crime were also necessary. James emphasized the renewed attention the Government was placing on Surestart; increasing its focus on the neediest families and better involving organisations with a track record of supporting families.
James told MPs that Brooke Kinsella - whose brother Ben was tragically murdered in London two years ago - has been invited by the Prime Minister to head up a fact-finding mission to assess the work going on across the country to tackle youth violence. Her findings will be presented to the Home Secretary later this year, to help to shape the Government's work in tackling serious violence among young people.
James also highlighted the work of the Mayor of London's 'Time for Action' programme. This programme focuses on: for the first time, giving young offenders in custody the tools to get them into work; tackling truancy; supporting young people in care to go to university; promoting sport; working with uniformed organisations to help build young peoples' character; and sharing good practice.
But in discussing serious youth violence it was important to recognise that the vast majority of young people were law abiding and made a significant contribution to communities across London. James said:
"Young people volunteer and take part in their communities probably more than any other group in our society, and I do not think we do anything by seeking to stigmatise or create a false impression of the situation. I welcome, congratulate and celebrate that, and it is important that we draw attention to it here."