Agenda item

Annual Report of the Director of Public Health 2019/20 - Serious Youth Violence and Vulnerability (Decision: 110530)


Councillor Mayes introduced the report and thanked the Director of Public Health and his team for their excellent report, which focussed on youth violence and vulnerability. He stated that from a public health perspective this included surveillance, identifying risks, intervening to reduce those risk factors and implementation. He outlined that the report covered the first three stages and worked to move to the implementation stage. He stated that the report outlined youth violence as a communicable disease which could infect a community and needed a whole system approach, including multiple agencies, to tackle. He described that the report considered trends in youth violence which had been increasing since 2013, but Thurrock’s work with Essex Police and the C17 gang injunction had helped to keep figures down. He felt it was disappointing to see high levels of youth violence with weapons, but on a ward basis only six wards within Thurrock had higher than average youth violence, and these were wards where there was easy access to the C2C train line, which led to criminal migration. He commented that the public health team were working with the British Transport Police to tackle the problem of criminal migration. Councillor Mayes moved on to describe how deprivation was a poor predictor of youth violence and explained the crime paradox, which meant that young people who were convicted of crimes and sent to juvenile detention centres were more likely to come from a deprived background, but those from a deprived background were not any more likely to commit crimes. He explained the casual variables which could also affect increased youth violence such as exposure to criminal activity; time spent unsupervised in town centres; low morality; and low self-control. He felt that Thurrock were good at working with some external agencies such as Aspire as well as promoting good family outcomes and quality primary education; but needed to work better with NHS services and other agencies to improve upon the good work already being undertaken.

Councillor Halden thanked the public health team and Director of Public Health and stated that the report presented a clear picture on what areas the Council were doing well at and which areas needed improvement. He felt that Thurrock had achieved in areas such as the C17 gang injunction, which had helped put gang members in prison for a total of 42 years, and working with Essex Police on operations such as Operation Compass, as well as the utilisation of targeted stop and searches. He added that Thurrock were also increasing resources such as increasing the Youth Offending Service team and introducing a specific gang officer. He felt that external contracts with public health partners needed to be improved, but this report would add weight to contractual discussions such as with NELFT and EPUT.

The Deputy Leader felt the report was very comprehensive and meaningful, and would help when working with external organisations such as Essex Police, including continuing successes such as holding the C17 gang to account. He was also pleased to see work was being carried out with the British Transport Police to help tackle criminal migration into the borough.

RESOLVED: That Cabinet:

1. Noted and commented on the content and recommendations contained within the report.

2. Considered how the findings and recommendations contained within the report can be best implemented and used to influence broader council strategy in this area.

Reason for decision: as outlined in the report
This decision is subject to call-in

Supporting documents: