So has the scourge of gangs really got worse since the riots? Tottenham gives its answer
In the wake of a damning new report, Jerome Taylor finds a community losing faith in promised reforms
In front of the burnt-out remains of a shop front on Tottenham High Road that was torched during last year's riots, the local authorities have put up signs listing all the ways they are trying to change the area.
The pledges are written inside a heart alongside the slogan "I love Tottenham" and include bringing in £4m for local jobs, more activities for the nearby youth centre and a dedicated team to "tackle grime".
For Jennifer Jane, out for a walk with her daughter, there is one thing she wants to see happen more than anything else in her neighbourhood. "They have to get rid of the gangs," she says. "I moved here a year ago, just after the riots, and I don't feel safe. It's rough, especially in the evenings. You have loads of kids and young men and you have loads of cops. Every night it's the same."
Mrs Jane lives at the top end of the High Road towards Edmonton. To an outsider it looks like any other part of a bustling, inner-city suburb. But her neighbourhood is a crossroad for competing gangs who go by names such as Young Dem Africans, the Get Money Gang and NPK.
Although gangs were not the only reason for last summer's riots they were a catalyst that helped make the violence both worse and more organised. Realising regeneration is pointless without a concerted attack on the gangs, both the Government and police pledged a crackdown.
But a new report released today suggests that campaign may be faltering. According to the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a think-tank set up eight years ago by the current Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the Government's anti-gang strategy appears to be "losing commitment".
Despite a £10m fund, a number of charities that work in gang prevention said the problem had either stayed the same or worsened since the riots.
Many felt gangs had in fact got more violent as "elders" with a stricter honour code were arrested and replaced with more unpredictable and anarchic "youngsters" who are keen to earn their stripes on the streets.
A London-wide crackdown on gangs does seem to be working. According to the Metropolitan Police, serious violence among young people is down since the Trident Gang Command, a centralised collection of detectives and officers with gang experience, was set up in February. Knife injuries involving those under 25 are down 29 per cent and the number of times a gun has been fired is down 21 per cent.
But the CSJ report says many charities – who are crucial for intervening once senior gang members are arrested – are hampered by the lack of long-term funding. Many of those who work trying to persuade kids away from gangs are not surprised by the latest findings.
"We commend the efforts of the police in tackling the problem, however they could be repeating the exercise in a year or so as there will be a further cohort of gang leaders emerging," said Junior Smart, a former gang member who now works with the St Giles Trust's anti-gang SOS Project.
For many Tottenham residents there is still a palpable feeling that the area has a long way to go before it can really say that it has turned a corner.
Niche Mufwankolo, landlord of the Pride of Tottenham pub, was on his way to the cash and carry yesterday to prepare for a party that night. His pub was trashed during the riots and it took months for Mr Mufwankolo to get back on his feet. His bar has a new paint job and looks vibrant. But, he says, he's having doubts.
"The politicians came here after the riots and said everything would change," he said. "But it hasn't. I've lived around here for 20 years and, you know what, I'm really thinking about selling up getting out."
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo