Miss Black Britain has accused politicians of a knee-jerk reaction to gang violence that fails to understand young people's needs.
Hannah Osunsina, 20, was speaking at the announcement of her role as the ambassador to a new Facebook-style website designed by teenagers to help lift youngsters out of trouble. The project, called Whatever, is run by Southwark Council, which covers areas of south London such as Peckham that are plagued by gang culture.
The second-year university law student said: "The politicians are not stepping in there and seeing it from the kids' point of view. They just wait for something bad to happen, like a shooting before they do something.
"They need to invest time over a long period in trying to understand young people. Suggesting making computer games less violent or forcing people to give evidence if someone is shot aren't realistic policies to help people live more positive lives.
"You need to prevent kids from getting into gangs in the first place by encouraging them to communicate with each other, become aware of their talents and feel better about themselves in getting an education."
Miss Osunsina, who lives in Peckham, where 15-year-old Michael Dosunmu was shot dead by gunmen in his home earlier this year, said she was lucky her parents has drilled in to her the benefit of an education.
"I've been able to get out of it all, progress in my life," she said. "But I've seen at first hand the downhill spiral kids fall into when they're bored and they don't believe in themselves. They just end up in gangs."
She said the new website, www.whtvr.org, which is to be launched in January, was exactly the type of grass- roots initiative needed.Reuse content