In a closed meeting between Hope in Haringey Director, Rev. John Wood. MBE, Haringey Youth Officer, PC Ahmed, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Hope in Haringey’s blueprint for Police Engagement was on display as Mayor Khan visited Tottenham in a review of Operation Denali.

By Omar Alleyne-Lawler, Communications Manager

In an exclusive meeting held at Tottenham Police Station, Hope in Haringey’s Director stat alongside long-time community police partner, PC Ahmed & Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward Matt Ward in meeting second-term Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan during his visit to Tottenham.

The visit comes as a follow up from last year’s visit to Tottenham Hale. Like last time, this revisit serves as a reminder to the community of the mayor’s support for ‘bottom up’, community based and innovative violence reduction schemes such as Hope in Haringey’s Police Engagement Programme.

It was this programme which got HiH into the meeting. Engaging with over 765 students in the last nine months, Hope in Haringey’s police engagement works to disrupt stereotyped perspectives and build bridges between officers and young people. Currently, Hope in Haringey police engagement workshops have an 87% positive rate by the young people who take part & plans have been put forward to expand this work to beyond Haringey.

The Mayor of London took a great interest in this work & it served as the perfect reminder for the purpose of this second visit. It’s because this visit also served as a progress report for Khan’s plans to tackle knife crime in the capital. Dubbed ‘Operation Denali’, the scheme has seen homicides fall 40% and almost 50 weapons removed from 196 arrests in Haringey alone since January 2022.

Operation Denali has so far worked by funding community groups that deliver services tackling violence. In addition to this, community groups are also paired with local police to form an area’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).

Reflecting on the initiative, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Met’s work in areas disproportionately impacted by violence is making a difference with significant drops in violence and murders in these areas and dangerous weapons being removed from our streets.” He continued, “But we know we cannot just arrest our way out of violence and that is why education and prevention work is so vital.

Following the meeting, Hope in Haringey Director, Rev. John Wood. MBE said: “We remain grateful to the officers, schools, colleges and youth organisations that participate in these programmes and hope the Mayor and Commissioner will increasingly see them as a priority when making a strategy for reducing youth violence in our City.”