Boris: Jewish youths can help us beat knives

By Dana Gloger, September 26, 2008
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Boris Johnson, the London mayor, is looking to Jewish youth movements as a model to help fight the capital's knife crime.

While researching his strategy to reduce the number of stabbings in London, Mr Johnson looked at various youth services and youth movements. He told the JC this week that he was particularly impressed by Jewish groups, which he believes could offer effective lessons in reducing such crimes due to their "peer-led" approach.

He said that such groups - where older teenagers lead activities for younger members - was the most effective way of working with young people. He hailed Jewish youth movements as an example to other communities.

He said: "It's fantastic that the Jewish community provides such excellent support for their young people. This is a model that all communities across London should strive to emulate.

"Many of the Jewish groups I have seen have comprehensive programmes of activity for young people, delivered by young people. This model is proven to work - as it encourages positive peer pressure and mentoring. Young people are far more likely to listen to, and respect, their peers."

Although Mr Johnson has still not completed his plan on knife crime, he said he may arrange for representatives from Jewish movements to speak to youth workers in other communities.

The news comes just days after marches against knife crime were held in London and Scotland. At the London event, Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivered a video message saying that stronger penalties against knife crime sent "a clear message to every young person carrying a knife that there will be no excuses and no exceptions".

There have been 27 teenage knife-related deaths in the capital this year.

    Last updated: 2:56pm, September 25 2008