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Five Elephant & Castle businesses form CitySafe Zone

London SE1 website team

A new CitySafe Zone has been established by five shops and cafes around Elephant & Castle which have pledged to offer their premises as places of safety for people in immediate danger.

Prompted by the murder of teenager Jimmy Mizen in 2008, CitySafe is a campaign led by London Citizens to tackle crime and reconnect fractured neighbourhoods.

Teams of young people work to build relationships with local shopkeepers and business owners to open their premises as CitySafe Havens.

This week's publication of the CitySafe Map is the culmination of a project that began in June with a rally at The Scoop at More London to mark the start of the 100 days of peace initiative during the Olympic and Paralympic period.

CitySafe Havens are places of safety for people in immediate danger whose have staff have also pledged to report 100 per of crime to the police.

When an area has a number of CitySafe Havens in close proximity they can form a CitySafe Zone.

Five businesses along London Road have now signed up to the scheme:

Art Cafe
The Castle Fish Bar
• Southbank Art Co
• Tab Business Machines

The businesses' participation in the scheme has been negotiated by pupils from Notre Dame RC Girls' School.

The sixth CitySafe Haven in SE1 is at City Hall where Boris Johnson was one of the first major figures to back the initiative.

Participating businesses promise to offer their premises as a safe haven for any young person in immediate danger; maintain a relationship with neighbours, police and the local community; encourage staff to attend CitySafe training and refuse to sell alcohol, knives or other dangerous items to underage or drunk customers.

Dame Tessa Jowell MP, chair of the CitySafe Foundation, said: "CitySafe will change the nature of London by making communities more resilient, more assertive and clearer of not just of their power but also their responsibility.

"This is a very purposeful way to build the strengths and resilience of communities and shows that civil society is strong where the state, through local government or the police, is supportive and engaged."

Grace Idowu, whose son David was killed in Tabard Gardens in 2008, is a key supporter of the initiative.

"I am so happy to be involved with this initiative and I hope it will protect many young people on the streets of Southwark," she said.

Cllr Richard Livingstone, Southwark's cabinet member for community safety, said: "Young people can seen as easy targets which is why we fully support the CitySafe scheme and have included four Southwark libraries as places where young people can go should they feel concerned for their safety.

"This is a innovative scheme that we give our full backing to."

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