Sadiq Khan picks Labour council leader to head new violent crime unit

Sadiq Khan today appointed the Labour leader of Lambeth council as his violent crime czar to lead a “public health” approach to cutting knife and gun crime.

Lib Peck will lead the Mayor’s violence reduction unit, which aims to divert people away from violence by making interventions at an early age. She beat former Parole Board chairman Nick Hardwick to the £100,000-plus job.

Mr Khan, who last week met the family of Jaden Moodie, the 14-year-old stabbed to death in Leyton, wants to replicate Glasgow’s success in treating violence as a “virus” that must be stopped from spreading.

He said: “We know that the causes of violent crime are extremely complex, involving deep-seated problems in society such as poverty, alienation, mental health issues and a lack of opportunity.”

The VRU, which was set up last year with a £1.8 million annual budget and a £5 million one-off cash injection, is conducting an urgent review of homicides and serious violent incidents since 2014. There were 134 homicides in London last year, the highest figure for 10 years. 

Ms Peck will step down from Lambeth council, where she helped launch a public health approach to violence in the borough last year and also focused on domestic violence. 

She said: “Tackling violence is a number one priority for Londoners and I hope to be effective in working with a huge variety of community groups, public sector partners and the police to bring a fresh approach to this devastating and destructive crime.”  

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