The Leader of Lambeth Council, Councillor Steve Reed has appointed a ‘gangs tsar’ to tackle the recent rise in violent youth crime.
The move is part of a new cabinet line-up following a vote by Labour councillors this week. Among the changes, Councillor Jack Hopkins enters Cabinet for the first time with responsibility for public protection, and Councillor Sally Prentice returns after a year’s absence to take charge of libraries.
Housing and environmental services are brought together under Councillor Pete Robbins, and Councillor Rachel Heywood takes over the schools portfolio with additional responsibility for dealing with troubled and disruptive families.
Councillor Lorna Campbell will lead on equalities, and Councillor Lib Peck moves to Regeneration after four years in which she’s led significant improvements in the housing service.
There’s no change for Councillor Jackie Meldrum who remains Deputy Leader and oversees support for business and the local economy. Councillor Jim Dickson stays on in Health and Social Care Services, while Councillor Paul McGlone retains responsibility for finance.
In a wholly new appointment, Councillor Florence Nosegbe becomes the council’s first-ever ‘gangs tsar’.
In her new role as Special Representative for Tackling Youth Violence she will oversee a major one-year project that brings together the council, police, health service and the community to find new ways to tackle the causes of violent youth crime at source. The new post reports directly to the Leader of the Council, signifying the urgency of finding new ways to get young people out of violent gangs following a spate of horrific attacks in recent weeks.
Councillor Nosegbe will take an action-based approach and will report back on progress in public every three months. Councillor Nosegbe understands the background of the people most affected by the problem as she grew up and still lives on a Brixton council estate with high levels of gang violence, and was educated in state schools in Brixton.
Councillor Nosegbe said: “My new role will bring together all public services and all parts of the community that have a role to play in stopping violent youth crime. We simply can’t allow any more young lives to be destroyed, and that means finding solutions to the deep-rooted problems that lead any young person to kill or seriously injure another.”
Councillor Steve Reed said: “I’m delighted Lambeth has a Cabinet that’s been reshaped to tackle the issues our community is facing today. Our priorities are to care for the most vulnerable, keep our community safe, and help people to meet their aspirations for a better life with decent housing, good schools, and a clean and sustainable environment. I’m confident our new team is up to the challenge and will work tirelessly on behalf of the people we serve.”
Councillor Reed offered his thanks to Councillor Nigel Haselden who leaves cabinet after a year in charge of regeneration during which he opened the new Clapham Leisure Centre. Councillor Haselden will become the council’s new sustainability champion.