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Team London Bridge partners with Southwark Young Advisors to address anti-social behaviour

 

In partnership with Potters Fields Park Management Trust and Shad Thames Residents’ Association we’re taking a new approach to tackling anti-social behaviour in London Bridge – one that’s not only proving successful but also steering young people away from gangs and knife crime.

Over the past four years, London Bridge has become a gathering space for young people all over London and the wider south east to meet, socialise and cycle – particularly at weekends and school holidays. This is mainly driven by the good transport links, the draw of iconic sites with social media impact (the Thames and Tower Bridge) and the fact it’s safe, neutral territory without the gang affiliations that sadly afflict public spaces elsewhere in London. Whilst the majority of those coming to the area behave well, we are aware that there have been some incidents of anti-social behaviour and crime, and that groups this large can be intimidating. Cycling in areas with such high footfall is also dangerous for both the rider and general public.

The police have previously implemented Dispersal Orders to address these issues but they’re short-term measures that should be used sparingly, and whilst our funded officer PC Morant has focused his patrols in the area, there can never be a constant police presence and the behaviour doesn’t always stray into criminal activity that can be formally enforced. A new approach was needed.

For the past two weeks we have therefore been co-funding a project through Southwark Young Advisors that’s enabled Mac Ferrari – founder of the ‘Bikestormz’ movement – to engage the riders, dissuade anti-social behaviour and direct them to more suitable locations for cycling. Bikestormz promotes a positive ethos of ‘bikes up, knives down’ that encourages young people in London and other cities across the UK to meet for social ride-outs and move away from the influence of gangs and crime. Mac himself is well respected, highly influential amongst the riders and has shown great willing to work with all local stakeholders.

Of the experience, Mac says that “working alongside the business and residential community over the last two weeks to address some of the issues has been fantastic. It’s great for the young people to see the relationship grow between us and has resulted in more understanding and respect from both parties. We still have a little way to go, however I’m happy with the progress so far and am confident it can better in the near future – thank you for having me.”  

The feedback we’ve received during this trial period has been incredibly encouraging with the initiative leading to a marked decrease in incidents whilst also allowing the London Bridge community to support the important work that Mac does with young people. After the successful trial we now plan to continue this scheme through to the end of August and carry-on working with all involved towards a longer-term solution. 

 
For more information email henry@teamlondonbridge.co.uk 
 
15 August 2018


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