Mayor blames education system for recent spate of youth violence

As local Police launch "Operation Curb" to tackle rise in gang culture

Related links

After a young man was shot dead in Chiswick and a 14 year old boy stabbed just metres away at a bus stop on Acton Lane this week, the Mayor of London has blamed low educational attainment as a cause of the worrying trend of violence amongst the capital's youth.

At his weekly press conference Ken Livingstone blamed lack of educational attainment as being at the root of much of the recent violence and said that there was a “huge underclass” that had not attained even basic literary or numeracy standards and this made them ineligible for the jobs market.

He went on to say that their low educational attainment and inability to articulate themselves led in some circumstances to them expressing themselves through violence.

The Mayor's comments come at the same time as the Met launches a new initiative, "Operation Curb", to tackle violence among young people.

Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said, "The current spate of teenage murders is completely unacceptable and I fully understand the fear and anxiety that they cause children, parents and the wider community. We are not prepared to tolerate this continued sequence of senseless killings and that is why today I am announcing a range of measures that will be put in place."

"However this is not something that police can tackle in isolation, and families, schools, communities, and authorities amongst others have an extremely important role to play in preventing and tackling these dreadful crimes."

Commander Shaun Sawyer, Head of the Violent Crime Directorate and Operation Curb said, "Recent tragic events involving young people across London have had an effect on all communities. This is an issue not just for those boroughs where young people have been injured or tragically murdered, this spans all areas of London.

"Operation Curb is about us getting into young people involved in serious crime, finding out what drives them into criminality, and what we can do with our partners to dissuade and prevent them from doing so. This is not about criminalising or demonising young people, this is about stopping the violence and reducing the fear of crime."

June 28, 2007