The Easter break has seen yet more violence on the streets of Haringey. The tragic death of Tanesha Melbourne-Blake, known to many locally for her youth work, took the total of gun deaths since the start of 2018 to six. The same night Tanesha died, a 16-year-old boy lost his life in Walthamstow after being shot in the face and news reports suggested London had overtaken New York’s monthly murder total for the first time in modern history.
Every senseless young life lost is a tragedy for their families, their friends and for our community. I don’t believe there is one simple answer for tackling this epidemic, but it seems blatantly obvious to me (if not to the Home Secretary) that the loss of 21,000 police officers from our streets and the decimation of youth services thanks to the Government’s savage austerity programme all play their part.
On Tuesday, I joined Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, MPs and Council Leaders from across London to discuss what more can be done. The Home Secretary talked about a new £40 million fund for the Serious Violence Strategy, but I want to know if that is a change to the £325 million planned reduction the Metropolitan Police faces by 2020? I have submitted an official question to find out the answer. Crucially, I’d like to see us exploring the joined up public health approach Glasgow has taken to violent crime. Education, youth services, social services, the Police, mental health services, the community, local authorities all working together and creating an attitude shift that has seen the city transformed and violent crime dramatically reduced over the past ten years.
In more positive news, I’ve been pushing for almost three years now to secure the long-term future of the Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) service at Whittington Health and open it to new patients. Since I first started campaigning on the issue, I have heard from people all across the country whose lives have been devastated for years by chronic bladder conditions and utterly transformed by the care of Professor Malone-Lee at the Whittington. The clinic’s reopening cannot come soon enough for the many others desperately waiting to be seen. I’ve now received news that the Whittington Board has agreed the clinic’s reopening to new patients and that recruitment will start shortly for a new Consultant. This is extremely welcome but the work isn’t over. There is a huge backlog of patients, including children, and it’s essential that they are now seen in a timely manner and that the appropriate resources are provided to enable this.