Grass or we'll evict you. Labour getting their Tory act in early
Posted by Raskolnikov on June 5, 2023, 3:08 pm
Labour rising star threatens to evict families if children do not inform on knife crime
Darren Rodwell says council will ‘start to look at tenancy agreements’ if children and families refuse to speak out
A rising figure in the Labour party is threatening to evict families if their children do not inform on people who commit knife crime.
Darren Rodwell, the leader of Barking and Dagenham council, made the threat as the east London authority urged parents to keep closer tabs on their children ahead of the summer holidays amid fears of rising knife violence.
“If your child is involved in an incident and knows who the perpetrators are, and refuses to speak out, we will look at reviewing your housing agreement,” Rodwell said. “Everyone must play their part in stopping these crimes. As parents, it is up to us to know where our children are, and that we play an active role.”
He has also said: “If families know their relatives are linked to crime, they must speak up or we will start to look at tenancy agreements.”
Rodwell has been selected to stand for parliament at the next election in the historically safe Labour seat of Barking.
His policy was described by one victim of teenage knife violence as “wrong for lots of reasons” and by a senior youth worker as “counterproductive”.
One young Londoner whose family lives in a council home and who has been a victim of violence said: “That’s a tough situation to be put into. Nobody can deal with that. You are already a target on the streets and now your parents are a target at home.” His parents would prefer to “see me alive”, not inform and accept eviction, he said.
Rodwell said the council would offer support in the first instance but that if parents declined, the authorities were “likely to view them as part of the problem”.
Next week, the council will write to parents spelling out their responsibilities to act to stop violence and antisocial behaviour during the “lost hours” of 3pm to 7pm – between children finishing school and parents returning from work.
Families will be urged to inform police of any videos of crime shared with their children on social media and report, anonymously if necessary, crimes witnessed by their children.
The push comes as the shadow justice secretary, Steve Reed, announced plans to fine parents of children involved in antisocial behaviour. They could also be forced to attend parenting classes.
The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, has previously said Labour would deliver 13,000 additional police officers and community support officers, and claimed that “only Labour is the party of law and order now”. She has been approached for comment on Rodwell’s plan.
About 130 knife crimes are recorded daily in England and Wales – with more than a fifth of them in the capital, according to official figures. More than 4,000 people were hospitalised after an assault with a sharp object in the year to March 2022. In Dagenham last month, 18-year-old Jordan Kukabu was stabbed to death in an incident involving machetes. Four people, aged 15 to 20, have been charged with murder.
Rodwell’s threat of eviction presents young people with a dilemma between the fear of retribution if they inform and the risk of their families losing their homes. The council said it would rehouse families if providing evidence placed them at risk.
A London-based youth worker warned it placed the emphasis “on vulnerable young people, rather than tackling the inequalities that lead to knife crime.”
“The young people I work with are already scared by the risks they face every time they go outside,” he said. “Making them and their families face sanctions like this will only increase their vulnerability and marginalise them further.”
“It is difficult to say whether this idea is good or bad,” said Jamie Masraff, chief executive of Onside, a charity which runs youth clubs, including in Barking. “So many things have been tried to reduce knife crime. Part of the solution is sustained investment in youth provision and more specialised work targeting people caught up in gangs.”
...no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party...So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.