Luton Council leader: 'This devastating news has sent a shockwave right across our community'
The leader of Luton Borough Council has spoken out following the fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old boy yesterday (Tuesday).
Two other teenagers have been arrested over yesterday's outbreak of violence on Stoneygate Road, near Challney High School for Boys.
In a media statement, Luton Borough Council leader, Cllr Hazel Simmons, described at length some of the projects being undertaken in a bid to stop gang violence.
Cllr Simmons said: "This devastating news has sent a shockwave right across our community.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this young person, who had so much of life to live.
"We are working closely with police and to support the school and all those affected by this senseless tragedy.
“The safety and wellbeing of our young people is an absolute priority for Luton.
“We continue to work with grassroots community based intervention providers, as well as our statutory partners such as the Bedfordshire Police and the Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU), to understand and deal with the many and complicated factors that contribute to this type of serious violence.
“Our officers are engaged in projects across the town, from theatre performances in schools highlighting the dangers of knife crime to targeted mentoring and one to one interventions for young people at risk of criminal exploitation.
“Since March, we have been operating a street and park based engagement programme called the Tree Project (Tackling, Reducing and Ending Exploitation). This project has created opportunities for specialist community organisations and support services around Luton to be involved in dedicated nights of action alongside statutory agencies. This direct access to earlier identification, assessment and fast track intervention had seen young people receiving longer term support to build the resilience needed to resist exploitation and violence.
“Violence of this nature is by no means isolated to our town, but we know that a lack of access to opportunities, jobs and services can have many negative impacts and the council has long-term plans to address this, including further investment in our skills and training programme.
“We continue to work hard with all our partners to ensure our streets are safe places for all."
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call police on 101. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.