Thursday, 22 February 2007


Prime Minister Tony Blair and home secretary John Reid hosted the gun crime summit today at Downing Street. Those who attended included senior police officers and community leaders.
At the meeting Tony Blair said he believed new legislation would be part of the solution to the gun crime problem. He stated that he acknowledged that there had to be various community efforts, however he also added that if the law wasn’t toughened up then this could send out a message of "complacency".
Mr Reid told the summit: "We will review the age sentencing element and look at bringing in a gang and aggravating element in any offence when it comes to sentencing.

However some of the community leaders present did not agree that tougher legislation was the answer.

Pastor Nims Obunge, head of the church group Peace Alliance, said: "Legislation is not the way forward. We may be raising urban child soldiers.”

Pastor Obunge also hosted a “Peace March” From Peckham to Brixton this evening. The march was backed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, MPs, the police and leaders of all faiths. Pastor Obunge stated: “The message the community is sending out is, ‘Enough is enough’. These people are killing Londoners and it has to stop now.”

These two events have been held as a response to the fatal shootings of five Londoners (three school boys and two men) which have taken place this month alone.

Soul singer and What not to wear host, Mica Paris has personally suffered from the effects of gun crime as her brother Jason Phillips, 21, was killed in 2001. She stated: “We have to go out onto the streets and rescue our kids and bring them back home”, she then went on and said “You have to teach them right and wrong. Whatever you have to do to give them a moral structure, you have to do it.”

U21 England and West Ham footballer, Anton Ferdinand wrote in the London Paper about his experiences of growing up in Peckham and how he was saved from “the gangs clutches.” The Peckham born footballer remarked: “If I can fulfil my dream coming from the estate, so can they if they follow the right path.”

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