A top councillor has played down concerns Bromley is “in denial” about its emerging gangs problem.

Kate Lymer, the council’s executive member for public protection, said a lot of work was being carried out to combat the issue of violence in the borough.

It comes following a government report which said the council has “been in denial about the problem it has with gangs for many years”.

The report, which the council asked for itself, followed a Home Office review into violence and vulnerability in the borough.

It concluded: “It was not clear to most of those we talked to who owns this agenda and roles of partners and agencies. This indicates an issue around communication and leadership that will need resolving in the form of clear recognition of the problem.”

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The review was based on a small number of interviews and focus groups, presenting a “broad brush overview” of the borough.

At a full council meeting on Monday, Cllr Lymer said the authority was not in denial of the problem, and listed a number of ways it was working on the issue.

“The review does not tell us anything we didn’t know, but it has cemented it,” she said.

“Work has already taken shape to address the issues in the report, in terms of governance and overarching strategy we now have a gangs protocol in place.

“There is no denial of an emerging gangs issue in the borough as we have put resources into the ATLAS team and the mega panel, which is a multi-agency panel tracking the vulnerability of high-risk children. We have been successful in mitigating risk.”

The council’s work has been praised by Ofsted, which has been reviewing the council’s children services following a disappointing inspection in 2016.

Clly Lymer said: “We have a range of resources available to enhance our work in relation to gangs and serious youth violence.

“We have access to the rapid response and rescue pan-London provision for those identified as at risk of entering gangs.

“We are trying to bring additional funding to work with young people. To date this has been unsuccessful when competing with other borough’s whose needs are deemed greater than ours.”

Cllr Lymer said the council was looking at nearby Croydon and Lewisham, where the issue is significantly worse, to see if any practices could be applied to Bromley.

The review, which focussed on a small sample of interviews, did not reflect the picture of the whole borough, the councillor said.

According to the report, it’s thought there is one gang primarily based in the borough, which has been dubbed M20.

A community meeting is being organised for next year in Penge following three murders in the town in the last 13 months.

Penge councillor Kathy Bance said it was no longer an “emerging” problem but one that needed to be recognised.

It comes weeks after a Met superintendent said Bromley was bucking the capital’s knife-crime trend.