Westminster North MP Karen Buck has told parliament that writing off gangs and violent teenagers as a “feral underclass” will not help tackle the issue. Accord to the ‘West End Extra’;
“Karen Buck led a debate on Tuesday that urged the government to continue funding to tackle gangs and youth violence, which currently is only guaranteed until March next year.
Ms Buck said the death of 15-year-old Sofyen Belamouadden, who was killed by a group of 20 people using metal bars and knives at Victoria station in 2010, proved that stereotypes of uneducated and out-of-control teenagers is unhelpful.
Paul O’Shea, the principal of St Charles sixth-from college in Ladbroke Grove – which was attended by 18 of the 20 people convicted in connection with the killing – told Ms Buck that “all but two of the 18 were four-A-level kids”.
Ms Buck read his statement in which he said: “We had nothing in our files to suggest they could behave like this. Their attendance rates were high, and one of the boys had that very morning been given two achievement certificates.”
Ms Buck added that mobile technology and social media had made the age-old problem of controlling impulsive teenagers more difficult.
“The behaviour of teenage boys in particular has caused grief to adults for 2,000 years, although now we have to deal with some of the new tools that create new means by which behaviour can be channelled through very rapid communication.”
Ms Buck said in London, the number of people who died on the streets as a result of gang and serious youth violence peaked in 2008.
“The government should not think this was the end of the problem.
“When a busy Oxford Street store is the scene of a confrontation ending in a teenager’s murder, as happened last Christmas, we are reminded that gang violence cannot be swept out of sight…”, she said.
An unnamed Westminster headteacher had told Ms Buck: “Hearing gunshots from my office yesterday really brought home to me how close we are to yet another tragedy.””