7 October 2008
A report issued today by Jenny Jones, a Green Party member of the London Assembly and of the Metropolitan Police Authority, has condemned the unremittingly negative portrayal of young people by journalists and politicians.
The report, 'Young People and Crime: Busting the Myths,' is released as London Mayor Boris Johnson AM takes the chair of the MPA for the first time; Ms Jones has criticised Mr Johnson for encouraging fear of young people in order to win support for his Mayoral campaign.
Jenny Jones said:
"71% of media stories on the young are negative. Boris Johnson rode to power on the back of rising fear of youth violence embodied by those stories - a fear he stoked with paranoid rhetoric on soaring gang-membership and rising knife crime. This report shows that rhetoric to be baseless. Youth violence fell by over 10% between May 2007 and April 2008, while just 2000 of London's 1.72 million young people are involved with gangs."
"That is still unacceptably high, but using young people as a political punchbag clearly won't help. Teenagers simply feel alienated from a society which responds to their problems with indiscriminate tools such as knife-arches which make everyone a suspect. That alienation and suspicion ultimately undermines real efforts to tackle crime.
"Boris Johnson must promote a positive attitude to the young, and to do so he must challenge the myths he started."
Jenny Jones is our candidate for London mayor 2012. For more information on her campaign, please visit www.jennyforlondon.org