‘Two kingdoms’ situation in Harrow!

The avoidable Grenfell disaster has alerted how easy it is for the authorities to become less connected with all those they should be caring and supporting.
Harrow council’s Community Safety, Violence Vulnerability and Exploitation Strategy 2017–2020 highlights a number of socio-cultural problems to deal with without sharply focusing on why things are as they are, so that the issues could be really addressed with inbuilt measurable success criteria.
The main opposition group on the council (Con) could suggest only some superficial amendments, again in dealing with the effects rather than addressing the cause.
Harrow has a population of 247,130 people with significant pockets of deprivation mainly around the centre, the south and east of the borough, and least deprived areas being in the north and west of the borough.
The government austerity measures have hardened the deprivation in the wards like Roxbourne, Greenhill, Marlborough and Wealdstone which also has the highest level of employment and income deprivations in the borough.
According to the 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), 12,083 Harrow residents are experiencing employment and 30,733 income deprivations, including those who would like to work but are unable to do so due to unemployment.
Unemployment figures are highest in Greenhill, Wealdstone and Roxbourne wards mostly in the areas with higher levels of social housing.
Within Harrow, the highest proportions of the population without qualifications or with low level qualifications are in Kenton East, Edgware, Roxbourne and Roxeth.
In terms of child poverty, 17% children are living in poverty in Harrow before housing costs, and this rises to 27% after housing costs. By the time they reach GCSE-age, there is a 28% gap between children receiving free school meals (FSM) and non FSM in terms of the number achieving at least 5 A*-C GCSE grades – narrowing the gap has remained a long standing challenge for the council.
There has been an upward trend in incidents of Anti-Social Behaviour since summer 2016 with Harrow recording an 8.2% increase compared to the previous 12 month period, which currently ranks Harrow at 27th out of 33 boroughs within London. Locations in the borough that have seen a considerable rise include Queensbury, Stanmore Park and Belmont but more so around the Harrow Town Centre (99 so far this year).
There is an increase in the number of victims of knife crime within the borough and young people convicted of weapons offences has also risen.  In 2016/17, 36 young people were convicted of possession of an offensive weapon, compared to 28 young people in the previous year.
Knife crime incidents in young people have increased by 29%, from 281 offences in April 2015 to 362 incidents between April 2016 to March 2017.
The upward trend of knife related incidents in the borough also gives rise to increased level of the fear of the knife crimes.
Harrow stabbing: Residents says ‘police cuts’ and ‘lack of things to do’ to blame for rise in violent crime
It would be interesting to see how the Grenfell experience helps in addressing a ‘two kingdoms’ situation in Harrow!