Serious youth violence fell in Enfield last month after extra police numbers were deployed to tackle an “emergency” situation.

The number of serious youth violence offences dropped by 23 in December following a spike in October and November that left the borough with the highest rate in London.

Metropolitan Police figures showed there were 397 serious youth violence offences in Enfield in the year to November 2018 – an 8.8 per cent rise on the previous year.

Superintendent Nigel Brookes told the council’s crime scrutiny panel yesterday (January 10) that officers had been redeployed from the Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) to deal with an “emergency situation” in December.

Meanwhile, police officers based in other parts of the borough were also told to target crime hotspots.

Andrea Clemons, the council’s head of community safety, said December’s fall in serious youth violence “may very well be linked to a higher number of police officers patrolling the borough, including officers from TSG and other resources”.

The increased police presence also coincided with a reduction in a number of other crimes, including gang-related offences, hate crime, non-domestic violence with injury and anti-social behaviour.

Supt Brookes said the emergency response was continuing in January and would include measures such as stop and search, which he insisted was being used in an “appropriate” way.

Enfield Council funds youth outreach work and other activities, including sport, in a bid to tackle youth crime.

It has also sought to engage with members of the public by holding several meetings in areas that have been badly affected by crime.

But like other London boroughs, Enfield has been hit by swingeing cuts to police spending that have left officer numbers per head across the capital at a 20-year low, according to City Hall.

At yesterday’s meeting, Ms Clemons confirmed the council is looking to work with boroughs that have seen a reduction in youth violence, such as Croydon, to see if it can replicate their successes.

She added: “We put a lot of funding into tackling youth violence. I would say probably the highest proportion of grant funding from the mayor (of London) goes into tackling youth violence.

“While other areas have been rejigged, that is not an area that has been reduced.”

Members of the public called on the council to ensure people were made aware of funding opportunities available for community groups looking to engage with youngsters.

Edmonton resident Chichi Meniru pointed out that many “hard to reach” communities would be unaware of funding opportunities because they would not look at the council’s website.

She said: “There are a number of community organisations that are not aware of these funding pots that could do meaningful engagement. It is communication – how do you communicate with people who can engage?”

Enfield Town resident Natalie Sherman also called for more engagement with communities, saying: “We know people come along when something has gone really wrong. We want to see regular interactions.”

Supt Brookes told the meeting that gang violence was a priority for the Metropolitan Police and it was analysing how gangs operate across different boroughs.

A Serious Youth Violence Action Plan has been set up by the Met to tackle knife crime and serious youth violence across both Enfield and Haringey.

Over the long term, the force is taking a “public health” approach to crime that focuses on the root causes of offending.

Chair of the crime scrutiny panel Cllr Lee David-Sanders noted that the meeting was particularly well attended by members of the public and encouraged people to come to the panel’s next session on March 28.