London News & Search
Nearly 50 children from London schools have volunteered to join gang exit schemes in the latest drive against knife crime.
Police say a total of 48 pupils have come forward seeking “pathways” out of gang violence in the last week.
Officers have visited 120 schools around the capital in the past two days giving talks on the dangers of knife crime and highlighting ways children can get out of gangs.
They are being encouraged to contact teachers or other community leaders who can refer them to charities such as Redthread or Growing Against Violence, which seek to protect young people from gangs.
Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Sean Yates, the head of the Met’s Operation Sceptre initiative against gangs, said: “Every referral is a positive thing and we want to see more children having the confidence to come forward.
“They may not always feel confident in approaching the police but there are trusted members of the community such as teachers who they can approach, which is the way forward.”
He added: “We really need to focus on reducing offences by changing hearts and minds, attitudes and behaviours.
“The work of our schools officers and the various projects and conferences across the Met are helping to achieve this.”
The Operation Sceptre scheme is to be rolled out nationally next week with an emphasis on diverting youngsters from crime in the summer months.
So far this week 66 people have been arrested for possession of knives or offensive weapons in the latest Sceptre initiative in London. Two were held on suspicion of attempted murder.
Three youths were arrested near Elephant and Castle Tube station yesterday in a swoop by uniformed and covert officers targeting suspects carrying knives. They were held after a short chase through surrounding streets, and a knife was found nearby.
The operation, with the Met working with City of London and British Transport Police officers, involved stop-and-search checks at key transport hubs across London.
Mr Yates said: “These operations are about protecting young people from knife crime during the summer holidays. A lot of kids travel around on buses and on Tubes and this is about using intelligence-led operations to target offenders in knife crime hotspots.”
There has been a series of knife attacks and murders in London in recent weeks. A man was stabbed to death in a block of flats in Romford on Tuesday, and a 16-year-old boy is in hospital after being stabbed in a shopping arcade after school in Croydon. A 20-year-old man is recovering after being stabbed in Bethnal Green last night.
London News & Search