A school friend told the London Evening Standard: “He was excluded from school a few months ago. It was not for stuff done at school, he was bright and good at school, he was in the top sets for almost everything but it was social media things which got him in trouble.”
A spokesman for the Mayor of London defended the investment in the Borough of Culture event and said the violent reduction unit had recently received an extra £6.8 million, which was announced before Christmas.
The spokesman said: “Sadiq is relentlessly focused on tackling the root causes of violent crime as well as investing in the Met and its Violent Crime Taskforce, who are working hard to catch those responsible.”
He added: “The London Borough of Culture is a crucial part of this work as it will create cultural activities that are specifically designed to be easily accessible to disadvantaged young Londoners across our city – and this forms a key plank of Waltham Forest’s plans for this year.
“We know the causes of violent crime are extremely complex and involve poverty, societal attitudes, gangs, drugs and a lack of opportunities for young people. This has been made far worse by huge Government cuts to the police and services like youth centres, charities and sports facilities that provide positive opportunities for young people away from crime.”