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Simon Hughes leads Lib Dem debate on gun and knife crime

London SE1 website team

Former Bermondsey & Old Southwark MP Sir Simon Hughes moved a motion on gun and knife crime at the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth last week.

Sir Simon moved the motion which had been put forward for debate at conference by Southwark Liberal Democrats.

The former MP began his speech by reflecting on the death of David Idowu in Tabard Gardens nearly 10 years ago.

"On 17 June 2008, in Tabard Park just yards from his home near London Bridge, 14 year old David Idowu was fatally stabbed through the heart by a boy not much older than him," said Sir Simon.

"David, his parents and family were constituents known and loved by many of us in the community. The crime was horrible; the young life gone."

He continued: "Conference I want us to think today not about statistics but individuals with knives at their throats or in their chests or guns in their ribs. Each one of these attacks is horrendous and unacceptable.

"Southwark Liberal Democrats have brought this motion for decision because as political leaders and activists trying to make our home communities safer, clearly at the moment the actions and responses in our communities are not sufficient. Southwark Liberal Democrats want to propose some new things we should do and other things we must do better."

Sir Simon reminded delegates that the two London boroughs with the highest rate of gun and knife crime are Southwark and Lambeth.

"We ask for much more joined up work in every community, with all relevant groups and individuals, I believe particularly in our churches and mosques and other faith communities, and particularly with their young members and young leaders;

"Maximum engagement of those established voluntary organisations with real skill and experience, such as XLP, Kids Count, Redthread, GAV and many others;

"Thirdly – and really importantly – the establishment of mentoring and conflict prevention and mediation training for all school students before they leave full-time education;

"All year round amnesties for guns and knives to be handed in without punishment, and the maximum financial support for effective community policing.

"We need to give more support to our young people, more practical help and more skills to be streetwise without being at risk. We need to help them to have more hope and less fear. There is a duty on all of us to do more effectively and to do more now. Safe and secure communities in the future start with safety and security for all our young people."

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