Croydon has united to bring together a three-week programme to raise awareness of knife crime and the impact it has on the community.
The plans kick off during next week’s half term, when the council’s youth engagement team joins forces with Croydon Business Improvement District (BID), Croydon College, Croydon police, faith groups, London Ambulance Service, school pastors, Victim Support, and Croydon’s young people’s outreach and counselling service, CDI, to host a range of town-centre events.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“Young people told us they were concerned about knife crime. The council’s Choose your future campaign – which champions our young people – urges young people not to pick up a knife.
“So it’s great to see so many services, volunteers and businesses getting involved during the school holiday period and beyond.
“We hope this will drive more young people away from carrying a knife by highlighting the devastating impact knife crime can have on them, their friends and family. We want to give them access to the right help and support, and encourage them to engage in positive activities which can help them to follow their dreams.”
The events start on Monday 12 February with London Ambulance Service demonstrating how they help people who have been inflicted with knife injuries, from 10am to 2pm in Centrale shopping centre (ground floor, next to Debenhams).
Croydon’s youth engagement team will be in the Whitgift Shopping Centre, from 2 to 4pm (ground floor, next to Starbucks), engaging with young people and encouraging them to seek support.
They will be working alongside Croydon police borough commander, Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, who will host a question-and-answer session entitled Let’s Talk About Knife Crime.
“I have said many times the police cannot solve this issue alone and I hope this will just be the start of the community coming together to support our young people in the challenges they face”, he said.
“I am proud to be a part of this initiative, I know my teams have worked hard to put something together with the support of partners and local groups which will educate young people to understand the real impact of knife crime.”
Victim Support will be in Centrale on Tuesday, from 1 to 5pm (again by Debenhams), advising people where they can get help and support against knife crime.
On Tuesday evening the police will hold community weapon sweep training with local faith groups.
On Thursday, from 10am to 2pm, the police town-centre team will be in the Whitgift Shopping Centre with the Met’s specialist crime investigation team, Trident, giving specialist advice on knife crime.
School pastor patrols will be engaging with young people in the High Street on Thursday and Friday, from 3 to 5.45pm.
The anti-knife crime work is supported by Croydon BID, which has worked with the Whitgift and Centrale centres to host many of the events.
Matthew Sims, BID chief executive, said: “Knife crime is a national issue that can impact widely on local communities in so many ways and at so many levels.
“It is important for everyone who has the long-term interests of our town and those who live, work and do business here to work together to help raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of this sort of crime upon individuals and the wider community, and to provide the appropriate support and direction for our young people so that they can make the right choices for the future.”
The programme continues on Monday 19 February, running to Friday 2 March. For further details please see http://bit.ly/2Bgb6eG