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Tower Hamlets Police chief quizzed over counter extremism measures

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:11 04 December 2015

Young People's Question Time at Poplar's Spotlight centre [photos: Rehan Jamil]

Young People's Question Time at Poplar's Spotlight centre [photos: Rehan Jamil]

© Rehan Jamil

Teenagers put one of East London’s police commanders on the spot over attempts to counter extremism and tackling street violence.

They quizzed Tower Hamlets Borough Commander Andy Ewing at the first-ever Young People’s Question Time to be held in the East End.

Young People's Question Time at Poplar's Spotlight youth centreYoung People's Question Time at Poplar's Spotlight youth centre

But the event aimed at involving more youngsters in civic decisions was a sigh of relief for the new police chief who took over the Met Police division earlier this year.

“They gave me a huge sense of optimism,” he said afterwards. “The future is in really good hands.”

The Question Time event put together by the Met Police, Neighbourhood Board and Tower Hamlets council’s youth service was by contrast to events of a decade ago when the authorities were coping with street violence and ‘post code’ gangs.

Now, however, they were more concerned with extremist radicalisation and measures to deal with it.

The panel staged at Poplar’s Spotlight youth centre also included two local deputy mayors, Rachael Saunders for education and Shiria Khatun for community safety, as well as community faith leaders.

They faced questions on the counter-extremist ‘Prevent’ agenda, Operation Trident police command tackling gang crime and violence and personal safety in the street.

Mayor John Biggs said: “Question Time is a chance to engage young people in the civic life of the East End.”

The young audience was drawn from secondary schools, Tower Hamlets Youth Council and the ‘Women in Leadership’ programme.

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