Solving Lewisham gang problem is 'easy peasy' says Stephen Lawrence's friend Duwayne Brooks

Duwayne Brooks

A snap of a Lewisham drugs raid from operation Hawk

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

SOLVING the problem of gangs is "easy peasy" - call them in for a sitdown meeting and tell them to shape up or ship out.

That's the view of childhood friend of Stephen Lawrence, Councillor Duwayne Brooks, whose sights are set on becoming Mayor of Lewisham at the next election.

He says his first move as the borough's new leader would be to send letters to gang members inviting them to meet him at the town hall.

The Lib Dem politician, who was with Stephen when the teenager was murdered by a racist gang in Eltham 20 years ago, says the struggle he has faced since means crime families already respect him and will take him up on the offer.

He said: "Gang members will be told to come and see me.

"There'll be two choices. One will be to engage and come on board and follow me to help make Lewisham a safer place.

"Or, if you want to continue in this gang stuff, then I'll get rid of you and your family."

Rather than limos with blacked-out windows, he expects them to turn up in minicabs, which gang members often use to move about undetected.

He said: "It'll be easy peasy."

Cllr Brooks said his time growing up in Deptford means he knows a lot of the Lewisham gangsters already and that it will be the first time they can relate to someone in charge of Lewisham.

He said: "I grew up with that lot and a lot of these gang youngsters are relatives of those sorts of people.

"If I don't know you directly, it's indirectly through one or two people. But they all know of me.

"They respect me already and it's that which will encourage them to engage.

"My aim is to ensure no parent has to get that dreaded phonecall saying your child has been stabbed or caught in crossfire."

The councillor said "good work" pursued already by Lewisham police, hassling gang nominals over the smallest things like TV licences, would be the key to driving them out.

He said: "It will be a life of misery, simple as that. I'm not going to allow you to cause misery for others in my borough."

Gangs targeted

Cllr Brooks' comments came as the Met launched Operation Hawk this week, clamping down on gang activity.

In Greenwich alone, 18 arrests were made in Thamesmead, Eltham, Plumstead and Greenwich, mainly for drug offences, while 60 wraps of crack cocaine were seized.

A further 19 warrants were issued across Lewisham, leading to nine arrests and the seizure of stolen goods and drugs.

Police also worked with officers from Trident in a separate operation, arresting two gang members for non-payment of fines and recovering knives from the River Quaggy.

Detective Inspector Matt Duncan from the Trident Central Gang Crime Command said: "This activity demonstrates to all gang members that we have a zero tolerance approach towards gang crime and one of our tactics is to work continuously to create a hostile environment for offenders, gang members and those who support them and their criminal activity."

Call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Lewisham Council

Lewisham Council says it has a range of programmes in place to deal with gang crime from youth multi-agency risk assessment conferences to the Safer Lewisham Partnership

A spokeswoman said: "The vast majority of young people in Lewisham are law abiding.

"The partnership of the council, Lewisham police and partner agencies will continue to relentlessly target the small minority who commit serious violent offences, and support those who wish to exit the gang lifestyle and those at risk. The support of the local community is invaluable to this joint partnership."

"Since 2009 the council and police have been providing young people involved in serious youth violence the means to exit this lifestyle through tailored diversions.

"One of these is Operation Trilogy Plus, a joint initiative to tackle serious youth violence in the borough by approaching young people on the peripheries of gangs, offering them an alternative to a life of crime by giving them bespoke support and showing them at there are alternative life choices they can make, helping them through practical support, like education, housing and mentoring. "

Comments (21)

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4:11pm Thu 28 Mar 13

handymanchris says...

Ship them out to where? Another London borough? Kent?

Its becoming more of a common sight in parts of Kent, Young boys and girls getting caught up in gangs that have left London.

No matter where these "Gang families" are placed, the trouble will not go away, it will only follow and blight the area they move into.
Ship them out to where? Another London borough? Kent? Its becoming more of a common sight in parts of Kent, Young boys and girls getting caught up in gangs that have left London. No matter where these "Gang families" are placed, the trouble will not go away, it will only follow and blight the area they move into. handymanchris
  • Score: 2

4:36pm Thu 28 Mar 13

banjo8 says...

Deal more harshly with those who commit crime, that's the answer.
Deal more harshly with those who commit crime, that's the answer. banjo8
  • Score: 2

4:45pm Thu 28 Mar 13

PaulErith says...

"Since 2009 the council and police have been providing young people involved in serious youth violence the means to exit this lifestyle through tailored diversions."

That just sounds like another of those soft policies that does nothing to deter these scum. Very long sentences in very harsh jails will either deter them, or at least remove them from the streets for a very long time.
"Since 2009 the council and police have been providing young people involved in serious youth violence the means to exit this lifestyle through tailored diversions." That just sounds like another of those soft policies that does nothing to deter these scum. Very long sentences in very harsh jails will either deter them, or at least remove them from the streets for a very long time. PaulErith
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Thu 28 Mar 13

skinnydan says...

what an absolute pratt, as if they would take any notice of a pratt like him, the one who ran away and left his best mate to get stabbed, oh send them a letter, of course thats gonna scare them an make them turn up, u sad pratt.
what an absolute pratt, as if they would take any notice of a pratt like him, the one who ran away and left his best mate to get stabbed, oh send them a letter, of course thats gonna scare them an make them turn up, u sad pratt. skinnydan
  • Score: 2

8:56pm Thu 28 Mar 13

reasonable75 says...

I'm sure Joe will confirm - isn't the the same liberal who introduced free texts to youths (gang members) to warn them which areas & roads were going to be patrolled by police?
I'm sure Joe will confirm - isn't the the same liberal who introduced free texts to youths (gang members) to warn them which areas & roads were going to be patrolled by police? reasonable75
  • Score: 2

10:03pm Thu 28 Mar 13

Gypo.Joe says...

Dead right Reasonable75, these gang members can't say Duwayne Brooks hasn't tried to reach out to them though.
The olive branch and the big stick, a few will take the olive branch but I think we all know most will need the big stick unfortunately.
Dead right Reasonable75, these gang members can't say Duwayne Brooks hasn't tried to reach out to them though. The olive branch and the big stick, a few will take the olive branch but I think we all know most will need the big stick unfortunately. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 2

12:06am Fri 29 Mar 13

toomush2drink says...

Totally deluded fool.So they give up being in a gang and now have no income so wheres the dosh going to come from for them ? No more robbing or dealing because hes had a chat and a cup of tea with them ?

Yeah right and even if it did happen another lot of thugs would fill the void such is the cycle.
Totally deluded fool.So they give up being in a gang and now have no income so wheres the dosh going to come from for them ? No more robbing or dealing because hes had a chat and a cup of tea with them ? Yeah right and even if it did happen another lot of thugs would fill the void such is the cycle. toomush2drink
  • Score: 2

5:56am Fri 29 Mar 13

Inspirationalady28 says...

He says he grew up with that lot (gangsta's)?..now that is interesting!!!
He says he grew up with that lot (gangsta's)?..now that is interesting!!! Inspirationalady28
  • Score: 1

11:03am Fri 29 Mar 13

Marty1979 says...

Gypo.Joe wrote:
Dead right Reasonable75, these gang members can't say Duwayne Brooks hasn't tried to reach out to them though.
The olive branch and the big stick, a few will take the olive branch but I think we all know most will need the big stick unfortunately.
Strange he hasn't changed his photo for 2 years

http://www.newsshopp
er.co.uk/news/crime/
8848685.LEWISHAM__Bl
ackberry_stop_and_se
arch_alert_scheme_la
unched/

This was the article - most of the comments were from cllr Brooks mate Max Calo who tried to justify (wonder what happened to Max as he was prospective liberal mayor)
[quote][p][bold]Gypo.Joe[/bold] wrote: Dead right Reasonable75, these gang members can't say Duwayne Brooks hasn't tried to reach out to them though. The olive branch and the big stick, a few will take the olive branch but I think we all know most will need the big stick unfortunately.[/p][/quote]Strange he hasn't changed his photo for 2 years http://www.newsshopp er.co.uk/news/crime/ 8848685.LEWISHAM__Bl ackberry_stop_and_se arch_alert_scheme_la unched/ This was the article - most of the comments were from cllr Brooks mate Max Calo who tried to justify (wonder what happened to Max as he was prospective liberal mayor) Marty1979
  • Score: 0

6:30pm Sun 31 Mar 13

melissa67 says...

skinnydan wrote:
what an absolute pratt, as if they would take any notice of a pratt like him, the one who ran away and left his best mate to get stabbed, oh send them a letter, of course thats gonna scare them an make them turn up, u sad pratt.
This has got to be the most revolting comment I have ever read on here.
[quote][p][bold]skinnydan[/bold] wrote: what an absolute pratt, as if they would take any notice of a pratt like him, the one who ran away and left his best mate to get stabbed, oh send them a letter, of course thats gonna scare them an make them turn up, u sad pratt.[/p][/quote]This has got to be the most revolting comment I have ever read on here. melissa67
  • Score: -1

2:49am Mon 1 Apr 13

skinnydan says...

good :) just as i intended it to be, dont like it dont read it div, its true, he's an absolute pratt who rean away and let his mate get stabbed to death
good :) just as i intended it to be, dont like it dont read it div, its true, he's an absolute pratt who rean away and let his mate get stabbed to death skinnydan
  • Score: 1

10:53am Mon 1 Apr 13

ksc says...

"Or, if you want to continue in this gang stuff, then I'll get rid of you and your family." come on Mr Brooks, you want to be taken seriously, in which case if you say stupid things like that people will laugh at you, the whole government can't get rid of one terrorist, yet one word from you and hundreds of gang members and their totally innocent families will be uprooted and moved on to somewhere unspecified, you couldn't do it, the British law wouldn't allow it, the courts wouldn't implement it, it just wouldn't be fair or legal. It is something many people would love to see but in reality it just won't happen, you know that as well as the gang's do, so if you are serious about that great american import, the gangster style gang, then try a different approach, one that maybe hasn't been tried before, then I would vote for you along with many other people.
"Or, if you want to continue in this gang stuff, then I'll get rid of you and your family." come on Mr Brooks, you want to be taken seriously, in which case if you say stupid things like that people will laugh at you, the whole government can't get rid of one terrorist, yet one word from you and hundreds of gang members and their totally innocent families will be uprooted and moved on to somewhere unspecified, you couldn't do it, the British law wouldn't allow it, the courts wouldn't implement it, it just wouldn't be fair or legal. It is something many people would love to see but in reality it just won't happen, you know that as well as the gang's do, so if you are serious about that great american import, the gangster style gang, then try a different approach, one that maybe hasn't been tried before, then I would vote for you along with many other people. ksc
  • Score: 2

12:57pm Mon 1 Apr 13

Inspirationalady28 says...

It was his 14 year old Son's friend (also 14) who was stabbed outside Ladywell Youth Centre in February!! So if Lewisham is so dangerous with gang related knife crime, a responsible parent wouldn't let any 14 year old be out approaching 10pm at night!! All those involved were in the 14/15 year old age bracket. I would have thought Mr Brooks, knowing what happened to his friend 20 years ago would know of the dangers and should start his anti-gang campaign a bit closer to home!!
It was his 14 year old Son's friend (also 14) who was stabbed outside Ladywell Youth Centre in February!! So if Lewisham is so dangerous with gang related knife crime, a responsible parent wouldn't let any 14 year old be out approaching 10pm at night!! All those involved were in the 14/15 year old age bracket. I would have thought Mr Brooks, knowing what happened to his friend 20 years ago would know of the dangers and should start his anti-gang campaign a bit closer to home!! Inspirationalady28
  • Score: 2

8:37am Tue 2 Apr 13

reasonable75 says...

"sights are set on becoming Mayor of Lewisham at the next election. "

So is this like any politician - make promises to win votes, but once elected discover it is impossible?
"sights are set on becoming Mayor of Lewisham at the next election. " So is this like any politician - make promises to win votes, but once elected discover it is impossible? reasonable75
  • Score: 1

10:06am Tue 2 Apr 13

Indigenous UK Pensioner says...

PLease liberel dems we do not need advice from you we will never vote for you we have seen liberael dems in court for perjury so dont try give us any advice these thug need 5 yr in a military glass house to teach them this is not the way to behave in my country we didnt fight 2 wars to be told that gangs should be invited to town halls these thugs need a harsh lesson not easy soft words from the liberels i will vote for who i like and it is none of this shower of the main 3 who are all the same and i dont care tuppence what poeple think i will donate to who i want and there is nothing anyone can do to stop me.THank you.
PLease liberel dems we do not need advice from you we will never vote for you we have seen liberael dems in court for perjury so dont try give us any advice these thug need 5 yr in a military glass house to teach them this is not the way to behave in my country we didnt fight 2 wars to be told that gangs should be invited to town halls these thugs need a harsh lesson not easy soft words from the liberels i will vote for who i like and it is none of this shower of the main 3 who are all the same and i dont care tuppence what poeple think i will donate to who i want and there is nothing anyone can do to stop me.THank you. Indigenous UK Pensioner
  • Score: 1

10:17am Tue 2 Apr 13

lilly007 says...

send them to the ARMY
send them to the ARMY lilly007
  • Score: 1

10:37am Tue 2 Apr 13

pamela8 says...

Maybe skinnydan could have used different words but I do get some of what he was saying... Also gangs of some kind are always going to be there...no matter what anyone does....In fact it will get worse because of cuts etc,,That doesn,t mean its an excuse to join or be in a gang..most of them are losers anyway...its easier for them to have a cop out lifestyle,,The streets DO NOT belong to any of them though..They need to get that into their heads....choice is be in a gang and mess up your life or use your brain and think about a more positive life...
Maybe skinnydan could have used different words but I do get some of what he was saying... Also gangs of some kind are always going to be there...no matter what anyone does....In fact it will get worse because of cuts etc,,That doesn,t mean its an excuse to join or be in a gang..most of them are losers anyway...its easier for them to have a cop out lifestyle,,The streets DO NOT belong to any of them though..They need to get that into their heads....choice is be in a gang and mess up your life or use your brain and think about a more positive life... pamela8
  • Score: 2

2:35pm Wed 3 Apr 13

honestopinionbexley says...

I thought this man and Stephen Lawrence were in no way connected to any gangs or any trouble..yet he knows them all in lewisham
I thought this man and Stephen Lawrence were in no way connected to any gangs or any trouble..yet he knows them all in lewisham honestopinionbexley
  • Score: 1

2:42pm Wed 3 Apr 13

Inspirationalady28 says...

There's a saying; “It takes one to know one.”
There's a saying; “It takes one to know one.” Inspirationalady28
  • Score: -1

4:25pm Wed 3 Apr 13

Gypo.Joe says...

Inspirationalady28 wrote:
There's a saying; “It takes one to know one.”
Lou behave or I will have to put you across my knee again !

;)
[quote][p][bold]Inspirationalady28[/bold] wrote: There's a saying; “It takes one to know one.”[/p][/quote]Lou behave or I will have to put you across my knee again ! ;) Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 1

8:44pm Wed 3 Apr 13

banjo8 says...

It seems a long shot and I'm really not sure whether we can trust any politicians these days, but maybe, just maybe, he's got a chance with this.
It seems a long shot and I'm really not sure whether we can trust any politicians these days, but maybe, just maybe, he's got a chance with this. banjo8
  • Score: 0

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