Teenagers and former gang members to help advise police on knife crime

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Police are to get advice on fighting knife crime from teenagers and for-mer gang members in a new initiative to engage with young Londoners.

Scotland Yard will set up a capital-wide youth independent advisory group — including teenagers aged 16 and over and former gang members — to help it tackle weapons violence.

It will also establish youth groups to support police in each borough and pupil panels in schools to advise on safety. Detective Superintendent Sean Yates, leading the Operation Sceptre knife crackdown, said: “They’re really good kids, they want to be involved.” 

This week, the Met will launch another phase of the Sceptre drive. Hundreds of officers will be deployed across London to carry out weapon sweeps and other activities. In Tower Hamlets, police will test a Twitter scheme in which about 300 young people have agreed to retweet police messages about knife crime. Officers will also be targeting the 750 or so prolific knife carriers in the capital.

Mr Yates said: “The activity next week is about keeping our kids safe during the holidays. We will be concentrating officers at bus and rail stations and in open spaces as well as working with schools.”

Figures suggest the rate of increase in knife offences in London is slowing. Police say there have been daily reductions in the number of people under 25 suffering knife wounds in recent weeks. Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer — in charge of the Met’s community engagement — is co-ordinating the establishment of the borough and school advisory groups.

He said: “Young people in particular have concerns about safety, not just after school but getting to and from school. This might be feeding in to their willingness to carry a weapon.

“I would like every borough to have young people who can give us advice and guidance not just on knife crime but what concerns them and what it is like to be a young person in London and, crucially, what the police and other authorities can do to keep them safe. My idea is [that] by giving young people more of a voice and by listening and acting on what they tell us, we will increase their confidence in us and they will let us know where they feel most unsafe.”


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