We've made tackling youth crime and violence in London a priority and are concentrating on areas where we can make a real difference.
In November 2008 the Mayor launched Time for Action – his plan to show young people that there are alternatives to dead end choices of crime and violence. Time for Action is the Mayor’s first step in preventing youth violence over the long term. It focuses on six specific areas and actively seeks the assistance of agencies and partners to deliver these proposals.
We are also addressing a range of themes relating to youth violence, including:
Young black men in the criminal justice system
We want to really understand why young black people are disproportionately represented as both offenders and victims of crime. We do believe that many young black men feel they have no alternative and are working with a number of organisations to tackle this issue.
We want to do more for young black boys, who we know are at greater risk of becoming involved in violence. As part of the Time for Action programme, we are calling on black men to mentor black boys in their communities, helping them to improve their self-esteem, life choices and prospects.
Giving young people access to wealth, rather than simply welfare
One of the most effective ways of keeping a young person out of trouble is through work - jobs give people a sense of responsibility and a sense of purpose.
We are putting pressure on employers and local authorities to take on more local young people, and especially more young offenders, to train them up and keep them out of trouble.
Girls and gangs
We have heard worrying anecdotal evidence over the past few years about the increasing numbers of young women committing, and being the victims of, youth violence.
There has been a recent rise in the number of young women being convicted of violent offences. What's more, we are concerned about the number of young women who are being raped and subjected to sexual violence as a result of gang activity.
We will provide young women support in coming forward and developing a number of initiatives to achieve tangible results.
Stopping young victims from becoming young offenders
There is a clear link between young victims of violent crime becoming offenders themselves. We aim to improve information sharing and coordination in this area in order to provide services that help break that link.
Addressing young offenders with mental health issues
According to the Office for National Statistics, approximately 40% of children and young people in contact with the youth justice system have a mental health problem, rising to more than 90% for those in custody.
Services vary across London for young offenders with mental health problems. We are keen to work with the NHS, boroughs and the Youth Justice Board to ensure services are appropriate for young Londoners in custody and continue when they are released, so they become less likely to re-offend.