Barking and Dagenham Council launches Lost Hours campaign as it bids to tackle youth violence
PUBLISHED: 17:50 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:55 12 August 2020
Barking and Dagenham Council has launched its Lost Hours campaign to address the problem of youth violence in the borough.
Council representatives attended the launch at Mayesbrook Park this afternoon (Wednesday, August 12), with Chief Inspector Lisa Butterfield and campaigners Beatrice Mushiya and Stephen Addison also in attendance.
The campaign centres on asking parents to take more responsibility and know where their children are, with its name derived from the ‘lost’ period between 3pm and 7pm, where young people finish school and parents return from work.
Data from the crime and disorder strategic assessment shows that there is generally an increase in youth violence in Barking and Dagenham during this time.
Councillor Maureen Worby, the borough’s cabinet member for social care and health integration, offered her thoughts as the project lead: “There is no hiding away from the fact that youth violence is getting worse, not just in Barking and Dagenham but across the whole of London.
“However, we can only tackle it locally. We all need to work together to beat this worrying issue and this includes parents making sure they know where their children really are and what they are up to.
“Every young person has a parent or a guardian who is responsible for them and we are asking you to work with us now to stop this continuous issue of youth violence.”
Set to target parents through advertising on various forms of public transport, a hard-hitting film will also form part of the campaign.
The poignant release features the testimony of a range of people, each impacted by violent crime; Peter, father of Jodie Chesney, Box-Up Crime founder Stephen Addison and a reformed young person all appear in the film.
Producer and director Nathan Miller immediately agreed to get involved with his project, citing a strong personal interest: “Growing up in east London, I’ve seen the effects of knife crime and youth violence and I want to play my part in trying to stop it.”
This campaign is also backed by the Met; Chief Insp Butterfield, the neighbourhoods and partnership lead for the East Area, praised the council for “trying to tackle the issue head on”.
She added: “The Lost Hours campaign is very hard-hitting but unfortunately it’s what is needed for some parents to take notice and start realising that this is happening on their doorstep and that their child could be involved.”
Part of what has driven this campaign is an alarming upsurge in youth violence in the last two years, during which the borough has seen 67 registered knife attacks (where a young person was injured) and 1,794 robberies of personal property by a young person.
It has also been purposely timed to launch at a time when greater numbers of young people are likely to be on the streets, through a combination of the summer weather and an easing lockdown.
The council wants to limit the risk of anti-social behaviour by engaging parents with this campaign.
Failure to heed its messages could lead to a loss of “precious life”, according to Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety: “Every person’s life is precious, but especially that of a young person. Unfortunately, there are too many young people being killed by another young person across London.
“We want this to stop in Barking and Dagenham and we need everyone to step up and work together to make sure our young people don’t feel that being in gangs and taking part in violence is the way forward.”
Also in attendance at today’s launch were Beatrice Mushiya, who lost her son to knife crime when he was 17, and Stephen Addison, whose Box-Up Crime initiative is dedicated to encouraging young people away from crime.
Watch the Lost Hours film at losthours.org.
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