Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence



Area of Concern
and Sign(s)
Suggested Solutions

AFractured black families Urban deprivation, social exclusion, born with inherited disadvantages. Single mothers, absent fathers
and a lack of positive role models.
Culturally specific support given by role models of the shared and common experience, through recognised and accredited parental programmes. E.g. NCBI (National Coalition Building Institute).
BHigh rate of teenage pregnancy Lack of parental guidance and discipline, peer group pressure and greater exposure to sexual explicit material in all mediums. Under achieving single mothers, disproportionate adoption rate, absent fathers
and a lack of parental responsibility
Greater emphasis placed on school and community based programmes that have a proven track record of reducing teenage pregnancy and improve parental responsibility at the youngest possible age as stated in the Wave Trust report of 2005, thus radically shifting educational investment from secondary to primary school level. Supplementary schools have a role to play in advising young girls on safety precautions.
C Absent fathers Lack of awareness and role models at an early age leading to a lack of parental responsibilities, and greater exposure to sexual explicit material in all mediums Disproportionate lack of fathers with a positive and consistent input into the life of their children Time for men in general and black men in particular to put away their excuses for not having greater involvement in the home, their children's education and extracurricular activities, again supported by a critical mass of black parental mentors from accredited parental programme.
D Lack of respect and discipline in the home. The parent feeling a sense of helplessness or a fear of prosecution in the moderate correction of their child. Parents feel they have no choice and give up resulting in an increase in single parent/fractured families; adoptions or parents resorting to send their children back to Africa or the Caribbean to regain their cultural and community values of respect and discipline. Recognise the importance of a culturally specific form of maintaining respect and discipline in a black home. There is a need for a national strategy to co-ordinate the Supplementary Schools with mainstream education, and give extra and consistent resources to the African and Caribbean Supplementary Schools that emphasise, from a cultural perspective, the need for greater respect and discipline in young people for themselves and others. Diane Abbott MP has commissioned conferences and awards around these issues, therefore her work could be a major source of assistance to the DfES.
ESchools believed to be failing black children by disproportionate forms of discipline and exclusions. Institutional racism as highlighted by the Wanlesss report 2006 Black children labelled as un-teachable and disruptive, resulting in 3 times more likely to be excluded than white and Asian counterparts, which makes them four times likely to be involved in crime. Radical transformation of school delivery to significantly enhance achievement of young black students and to reduce exclusions by a half in 2 years, and for teachers to have awareness training to assist them to recognise the perceptions they may have that may stereotype young black students as being disruptive and un-teachable. Again, Supplementary schools have a role to play in retaining black students and reduce exclusions through a more culturally stimulating curriculum. The CRE/CEHR must rigorously inspect and monitor the RES, action plans and Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) of schools that are not fit for purpose in black areas, with the aid of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).
F CJS agencies not fit for purpose Lack of cultural awareness systems in their processes and practices Culturally based disproportionalities in all the elements of the CJS, from the first form of critical encounter with enforcement agencies (police and immigration), right through to the number of custodial sentences. As stated above in recommendation E. In addition to incorporating roles and responsibility accredited educational initiatives, specifically for young black people to reduce resentment and the perceptions that they are labelled as criminals, even before they have anything to do with the CJS; such as the MBPA award winning leadership programme through the MPS. Thus providing a more effective police service giving a greater semblance of personal security, coming against the notion that young black people are over policed as potential suspects and under protected as potential victims. In addition to developing a peer-to-peer mentoring scheme and a growing critical mass of youth advocates.
G Impact of Criminal Role Models Negative peer group pressure and youth culture that advocates criminal and anti-social behaviour Invariably they are males who act in isolation or in concert with other associates, possibly in a gang hierarchy, that grooms young by manipulating their naivety in:
(i)  Self labelling as under achievers and potential criminals and to begin their criminal lives at the earliest stage because teachers and the CJS have already labelled them; (ii)  Convincing them that cannabis is legalised and they should use it liberally and assist in its supply, in addition to other drugs as part of their initiation into a gang; (iii) Carrying out other deliberate criminal/anti-social acts of initiation into a gang.
Police enforcement tactics to target these criminal/ dysfunctional role models to detect and disrupt their influence. This must include government enforcement of arts and media providers that advocate criminal/anti-social behaviour instead of being forces for good, because of their strong influences on youth culture.
H Extensive and expansive use of Cannabis. Cultural identity by some young people in Cannabis had greater acceptance when it was down graded and reclassified to a class C drug. Significant increased number of young black people at a younger age using the drug owing to its cultural appeal and easier availability. Consequently, there has been a significant increase in drugs induced psychosis and related conditions in young in the target group, leading to a paranoid mistrust of the CJS, other public providers and authority figure; notwithstanding any strangers they feel are a threat. Reclassify cannabis to a class B drug to reduce its recreational drug appeal, followed by more stringent sanctions at all levels in the CJS. Complement this with a comprehensive communication strategy to reduce its use and progression to other drugs such a "crack cocaine" and "crystal meths', simultaneously introduce a robust drug prevention and treatment strategy aimed at primary and secondary schools.
I Young black people distancing themselves from statutory and voluntary organisations The perception that more formal bodies in the community are trying to identify with their reality and responding to their needs, and their negative encounters breeds a lack of trust and confidence Responding more to the quick fix street justice, based on the respect culture that revolves around the main currency of violence, as opposed to the formal slower paced CJS Extensive community consultation helps to inform policing strategies and inform judgement, as shown by the introduction of borough based Community Police Consultative Groups (CPCG) —after the Scarman report—and Independent Advisor Groups (IAG)—after the Lawrence report, which in turn has raised the credibility of the community advocates who have tirelessly carried out this role. Therefore each borough must introduce a Youth IAG to develop a critical mass of youth advocates that can establish bridges between young black people and the CJS, in addition to developing changes agents who have the capacity to establish peer-to-peer mentoring schemes; based on the award winning leadership programme model established by the MBPA, and the graduates who have gone on to establishing the youth advocates programme called Voice Of the Youth And Genuine Empowerment (VOYAGE).
J Post Code Violence and gang related activity, leading to increased violence with the black community investigated by Operation Trident. Black youth affiliations going beyond innocent mutual identification groups and moving towards street collectives and/or gangs, based on paranoid misguided loyalties that feel threatened by strangers present within their identified areas. Growing incidents of gratuitous violence committed by younger age groups, early to mid teens, predominantly amongst themselves, with an increasing use of weapons in an attempt to gain respect through violence; living off the intimidation and fear generated by these acts. Criminal role models labelling and grooming new recruits into the gangs with steps of initiation involving violence and other form of crime. Each borough should set Operation Trident targets in their Local Area Agreements with Statutory partners, not only from an enforcement tactics but also through prevent and deter strategies, engaging statutory and voluntary agencies, communities and key individuals; because what gets measured gets done through a holistic partnership approach.
Operation Trident should establish a performance based on coherent community engagement strategy linking with London-wide strategic partners such as: Youth Justice Board, Government for London, Health Authorities, DfES and DCLG; to give a strong strategic drive on "prevent & deter" tactics for those at risk of, or involved in, gang related activity.
K Greater recognition of the church in the public square and their influence on all forms of social reform, including outreach to young people at risk of, or involved in, crime or anti-social behaviour, including gang related activity. Lack of resources and recognition given to faith works and social action programmes based on the principles of Street Pastors, with the backing of the Urban Trinity partnership of Council, Churches and COPS (Community Orientated Problem Solvers which include the police and the wider community). Churches are not outreaching in a structured, co-ordinated and strategic way giving the impression they were only self serving and not going out with a relevant, real and relatable message of hope to those seeking answers to questions in their lives. The TRUCE (To Reach Urban Communities Everywhere) outreach concerts in the estates of Hackney and Waltham Forest, proved the concept that a significant number of the target group came from church going African and Caribbean families and so with the right form of hearts and mind approach, based on faith works and social action, would get the target group to review their beliefs, views and values that drive their behaviour. Thus enabling them to be empowered enough to take different options in their lives based on wiser choices supported by faith groups, statutory and voluntary agencies; resulting in more productive and cohesive relationships between each of the stakeholders, building safer and stronger communities together with the respective Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs).
The evaluation in the report pack shows the merits of the TRUCE concept being rolled out to areas across London that have been blighted by gang activity. This initiative has shown there needs to be an encouragement of outreach programmes through sustainable and consistent funding, also a recognition of the unique position that Christianity can hold in maintaining family/community values in an attempt to reverse the trend of society's moral bankruptcy. And that it can be relevant to the changing times by articulating a social gospel that addresses the material issues of economic inequality and racism. Also any attempt to dismiss religious liberty in the public square is inherently irrational, intolerant and extremely dangerous for society where the bad will outnumber the good if we do not take innovative action.

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