If we really want to tackle youth violence on the streets of London, we can start by getting rid of the term ‘gang’

 

“On Friday, my constituent Zac Olumegbon was murdered in a planned attack close to his school. He was just 15, and I know that the thoughts of the entire House will be with his family at this very difficult time. He was the 13th teenager to lose a life needlessly in our capital city. Can the Prime Minister tell me, the rest of the House and the country what his government is doing, and will be doing, to stop this happening in our communities?”

That was the first question I ever asked at Prime Minister’s Questions, then with David Cameron, shortly after being elected in May 2010. 

Zac was stabbed to death in front of Park Campus School in our borough of Lambeth in July 2010. Only the day before, he had spoken at a “Youth Against Violence” conference and was trying to turn his own life around, having got involved with the wrong people at a young age. He was associated with TN1 (“Trust No One”) – often referred to as a “gang” locally (more on the use of that term below) – who operate in the part of my constituency the home secretary visited on Monday to launch the government’s strategy to tackle serious violence.

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