Police cuts blamed for youth crimewave
20 October, 2017 — By Emily Finch
The front page of the Tribune last week
A CHARITY that works with at-risk youths blamed cuts and over-stretched police services for the recent spate of anti-social behaviour in Caledonian Road.
Last week, shopkeepers told the Tribune that workers and customers were being terrorised by a small group of youths who “shut down” the road. They described watching groups on bikes snatching phones from residents and fighting with each other while brandishing machetes.
Richard Frankland, also known as Beef, who has run youth charity Prospex for nine years, said funding cuts had meant they stopped sending out street teams to the Cally Road area 18 months ago.
“We have trained detached youth workers – street teams – they go out in pairs, preferably three or four times a week to reach people,” he said. “They target estates and street corners known for anti-social behaviour and build a relationship with them [youths]. They find ways to engage positively and veer them away from the negative stuff.”
He said his charity had previously received “big funding” from the Town Hall prior to the recession. They still run a range of youth services including mechanic classes and Duke of Edinburgh expedition schemes alongside street teams in other parts of the borough.
He added: “Anti-social behaviour is a really complex issue. It needs lots of parties to come together and a new response to look at how to how to tackle it.” Mr Frankland said he was looking to restart street teams in Caledonian Road.
Inspector Steven Murfin from Islington’s Safer Neighbourhood team told the Tribune: “We are working with key partners, the borough council, and we are aware of certain problems in the area. We haven’t had many complaints from the local residents. We urge local people to contact the safer neighbourhood team.”