This blog is to capture all articles relating to good work including initiatives and successes with regards to gangs (predominantly in London), but also good news stories involving young people more generally.

If you have a good news story or something positive to promote please get in touch at londonstreetgangs@googlemail.com

Sunday, 22 April 2012

London community projects receive £1.8million to address crime issues (HOME OFFICE)

Community action against crime: innovation fund

The fund was launched in September 2011 for voluntary and community groups to develop new ways of working to cut crime and keep communities safe.
The innovation fund

The fund is worth £10million over two years with grants ranging in value from 1,000 to £50,000 per year.

Funding submissions closed on 1 December 2011 with over 1600 applications received from organisations across England and Wales. Just under £70 million was requested by grant applicants, meaning the fund was over subscribed seven times over.
Assessing grant applications

The Community Development Foundation (CDF) administers the fund and is responsible for the application and assessment process. All grant applications were forwarded to local panels made up of community leaders and funders, who considered the applications and made their funding recommendations against agreed criteria.

The fund is supporting a wide range of projects which include:
  • antisocial behaviour 
  • crime in local neighbourhoods 
  • substance misuse 
  • reducing re-offending 
  • violence against women and girls 
  • youth crime 

It is also being used to showcase the potential of the voluntary and community sector in playing its role in fighting crime in partnership with the police and other partners.
Successful applicants

A list of the successful applications is now available.

Beyond 2012-13 there will be no further government funding, while existing funds for community safety work will be held by police and crime commissioners.

However, there is a wide range of other grants available from a variety of sources. There are several websites that can help you find the funds you need to support your work in the future including: 

Public can question Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe in online chat

By Robert Fisk from This Is Local London News

Sunday 22nd April 2012

LONDONERS will be able to quiz the Met’s top cop during a live webchat tomorrow (April 23).

Anyone who wants to take part in the discussion with the Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe should go to met.police.uk/askmetboss between 3.30pm and 4.30pm.

You can also join the discussion on Twitter using #AskMetBoss

More than 600 people have joined the commissioner during his recent webchats, questioning him on a variety of topics including racism, recruitment, Olympics and local policing teams.

He answers as many questions as possible during the hour-long sessions which are hosted on the MPS website.

A series of online polls are also run during the events to gauge views and concerns about policing in London.

The webchats are part of the commissioner's commitment to speak directly with members of the public to find out their views on how the Met can be the best police service.

Anti-knife crime football tournaments hailed as great success

By Robert Fisk from This is Local London News
11:40am Sunday 22nd April 2012

FOOTBALL is the latest weapon in the fight against knife crime.

Youngsters who played in the two tournaments at Goals, Elmers End Road, Elmers End, enjoyed a knock out competition with trophies for the winners and medals for the runners up.

And they also took part in workshops which highlighted the issues of knife and street crime and gave youngsters information about the consequences of their possible actions.

The Give Knife Crime the Red Card events were jointly held by Bromley police and Crystal Palace FC.

Sergeant Ian Mann from Bromley police’s schools unit said: "The reaction and interaction of the young people on both days of the programme was fantastic.

“Their desire to learn was phenomenal and they also enjoyed the interactive workshop sessions, as well as obviously the football tournaments. “This programme showed that learning and sport can work together seamlessly and beneficially.”

Friday, 20 April 2012

‘Give youth a say on halting gang violence’

Evening Standard

By Peter Dominiczak

20 April 2012

Hundreds of young people are to demand that the next Mayor listens to their ideas on tackling London’s youth crime crisis.

About 200 young people will call on the capital’s politicians to take action on knife and gang crime at a rally this weekend.

Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, started the A Mayor for Young London Campaign this year after becoming frustrated at the lack of progress from City Hall on the fight against youth crime.

She said: “My main focus is the victims of crime and particularly young people who don’t feel safe. It would be easy for me, as a London politician, to say, ‘Something must be done’.

"But we need young people to have a voice. Something needs to happen — 7,500 kids last year in London alone were victims of knife crime at the hands of other young people.

“These young people are not passive. They want to be leaders in their own communities and say, ‘This is not the sort of life we want to lead’.

"The mayoral elections are an opportunity because the Mayor has so much potential power. The Mayor needs to be better at bringing people together.”

Using social media and local youth networks, Ms Creasy has assembled groups of young people from across the city who will tomorrow call for immediate action from City Hall.

Nurgul Kinli, 18, from Tottenham, experienced last year’s riots. She said: “Since I was young, people around me have died because they had become involved in crime. It has affected me all my life.

"There are so many gangs around the area where I live. Young people in gangs feel like they’ve been forgotten. The Mayor has to tell them that there are people who care.”

Segun Akinwoleola, 24, from Newham, said: “I’ve grown up around gangs and postcode wars, but I managed to go off and go to university and get a first-class degree. I just haven’t yet seen anything from the mayoral candidates on youth crime.”

Jermain Jackman, 17, of Hackney, added: “These politicians seem to fail to understand that we are the next generation.”

Tomorrow afternoon’s rally is in Paddington. Contact
@stellacreasy on Twitter for more information.

Anti-riots concert to fund teen summer activities


Ealing Gazette

Greenford Hall
A GROUP of good-willed residents have teamed up with police to hold a charity concert to fund summer activities for young people.
Archie Ross, chairman of Ravenor Park Residents Association, who also sits on the Greenford Broadway police forum, came up with the idea after speaking to police following the riots last summer.
They decided that one way of deterring a repeat of the events was to give bored youngsters something fun and interesting to do during the long summer break. 
The music concert will be held at Greenford Hall next Wednesday (25) at 7pm.
It has been sponsored by St George, developers of Dickens Yard in Ealing Broadway, and a number of local businesses have donated raffle prizes. 
Mr Ross said: "Following the disturbances in the borough during last summer a number of meetings took place between the council, the safer neighbourhood teams and the ward panel. 
"One cause which became evident was the fact that a number of young people had nothing to do during the school holidays.
"To provide facilities for sports and other activities requires funding."
To buy tickets call Mr Ross on 020 8578 5307 or Sergeant Chris Naughton of Greenford Broadway Safer Neighbourhood Team on 020 8721 2916. 
Tickets also available on the door on the night. 

School pupil, 13, publishes book


School pupil, 13, publishes book

Harrow Observer

A 13-year-old school pupil has published her first book.
Francisca Darko, who attends the Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College in Harlesden, left her teacher gobsmacked when she announced the achievement.
Francisca, who lives in Cricklewood, penned the 188 page story 'I Lit the Moon' in her spare time after feeling inspired to write.
She decided to self publish the book, which is now available online at Amazon and several bookshops.
Her teacher, and deputy head at the school, Louisa Bonelli said: "It was a massive surprise when I found out, it is a huge achievement for someone so young, and to have had to confidence in her work to then go and published it was inspirational.
"She is a real achiever. A top student."
Francisca said she felt inspired to write the story after carrying out some research for a history assignment and stumbling across the beginning of a new idea.
The novel is about a girl who discovers she has magic powers after the death of both parents, and finds herself having to battle an evil goddess.
She said: "It took me a whole year to write it, I have written stories before but often I haven't finished them. I stuck with this one, and it was a great feeling when I realised I had gone past the first 50 page mark.
"I am really happy with it, and I would like to write books for my job when I'm older."
Francisca decided to self publish the novel with a company called AuthorHouse. A blurb for the book says: "As if having to deal with her parents' death wasn't enough, Payton is now a social outcast. Thinking that life couldn't get any worse she now has to face an ancient Egyptian goddess who will stop at nothing to kill her... Payton has some growing up to do and is about to discover some magic of her own..."
Francisca is a keen reader, and her favourite book is Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman.
She added: "My friends and family have been really supportive, and they are really excited about it."

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Young people design gun and knife crime project at Stratford Circus

Newham Recorder

Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Thursday, April 19, 2012
11:55 AM

Hundreds of young people packed into Stratford Circus recently to share the results of a project designed to prevent gun and knife crime in Newham.

The evening included talented performances, moving films and emotional recollections of the impact of violent crime. It was attended by a host of special guests including BAFTA award winning film maker Mark One, founder of global movement Peace One Day Jeremy Gilley, and West Ham MP Lyn Brown.

The event called Street Life: The conversation, was the culmination of six months of work discussing and understanding the impact of gun and knife crime, with young people taking part in activities and events in Community Links’ hubs around the borough. They worked on films, performances, photographs, songs, and T-shirt designs highlighting the risks of getting involved in gangs and the positive alternatives for young people.

During the event Michael Smith, founder of Words for Weapons, explained that his organisation provides knife bins around London where people can anonymously leave knives to be safely disposed of. The organisation has just installed two new bins in Newham – one at the junction of West Ham Lane and Church Street, the other at the junction of High Street South and Rancliffe Road.

Performances were interspersed with recollections from three people who had lost young family members to violent crime. One man told how his son had been beaten to death by three young people ten years ago. He now spends his time working with young people in schools and young offender’s institutes explaining the devastating impact it can have on families and communities. He recently met one of his son’s killers, who ten years deeply regrets his actions.

Mark One, a Bafta-award winning film maker, lost a family member to gun and knife crime seven years ago, and has spent five years developing a powerful film called After Effects, which was screened at the event. It vividly shows the impact a young person’s death has on the family of the victim and the perpetrator. It will be shown in schools and youth groups around the country.

Sal Idriss is a professional photographer whose photographs appear in the National Portrait Gallery. His 17-year-old brother was killed in an unprovoked knife attack in Islington in 2007. Since then Sal has worked to educate and deter those vulnerable to gun and knife crime. He worked with young people from Community Links’ Arc in the Park centre in Canning Town to make five special photographs illustrating the dangers of becoming involved with guns, gangs, and knives.

Community Links thanked everyone who helped out with the programme through giving workshops and sharing their experiences with the young people. These included Bob Goldsmith, Mark One, Sal Idriss, Whitney Iles, Michael Smith and Ray and Vi Donovan.

Hackney youngsters show they are force for good with ‘Keep the Peace’ show

Hackney Gazette
by Sarah Ingrams, Reporter
Thursday, April 19, 2012
11:55 AM

Young people challenged negative perceptions when they staged a talent show in Hackney last Friday.

Keep The Peace celebrated community spirit through song, dance, acting and poetry performances.

It was organised by young people aged 15-21 from a project called Hackney Empowering Active Team, run by children’s charity Hackney Quest who wanted to promote Hackney youngsters’ creativity, determination and a peaceful community.

Negatively

Members believe that young people living in the borough are often negatively portrayed even though the majority are not involved in anti-social behaviour.

Hackney Quest director Collette Allen said: “The event was better than we could have expected. It was a positive community event and made an impact on young people.

“It was very inspirational and emotional and shows the ways that young people can do good things in the community.”

The Glenarm Road event concluded with a motivational speech from Nathaniel Levy, from the Robert Levy Foundation, whose brother was killed in Hackney seven years ago and Mark Prince, from the Kiyan Prince Foundation, who lost his son to knife crime.

Ms Allen added: “It was very inspirational and powerful. There were over 300 people but it was complete silence when they were speaking and the young people really took in what they were saying. It was a piece of pain but of hope and change as well.”

Charity Hackney Quest has provided activities and education for disadvantaged and excluded young people for 24 years.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Tribute of The Voice star Jaz Ellington may bring my son’s killers to justice

Evening Standard

Mark Blunden

17 April 2012

A mother whose murdered son was the inspiration for The Voice favourite Jaz Ellington today said she hoped the renewed interest would help bring the killers to justice.

Fabian Ricketts, 18, an aspiring film director, was shot in the heart six years ago today after inadvertently becoming involved in a gang dispute.

On Saturday, Ellington gave an emotionally-charged performance on the BBC show, which he revealed was inspired by the death of his close friend. Nearly 12 million viewers saw the 27-year-old win the last place in the competition.

Today Fabian’s mother Yvonne called on people with information about her son’s death to come forward.

She said: “When I heard Jaz on The Voice I was shocked. I hope the publicity will tweak people’s consciences. In 2006, they were perhaps young and scared but they are older and wiser now. Their silence means I can’t lay my son to rest completely.”

Fabian, who worked at Woolworths and lived in Mitcham, was killed on Easter Monday 2006 after driving three friends to a barbecue at the Battersea Bar in Wandsworth.

During the Old Bailey trial the following year, a witness said he had inadvertently sparked a fight by gesturing to a boy he thought he recognised.

But some of the crowd up to 20-strong mistook the witness’s signal for a gun gesture, when Fabian tried to calm the situation. The row then escalated into an attack involving a knife, pistol and sawn-off shotgun.

Three men went on trial for the killing but the case collapsed after the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence. Today, Ms Ricketts and Fabian’s elder brother, Leon, 30, were going to lay flowers at the spot where he died.

She said the family felt “abandoned” by the police, adding: “Fabian had never been arrested and was not in a gang. I feel the police have not handled the investigation properly.”

Ellington reduced two of the show’s judges to tears as he sang a version of Ed Sheeran’s A Team, followed by John Legend’s Ordinary People.

The singer said: “When Fabian went that was a painful moment for me. I’ve gone through a lot of heartache and I’ve written about it. The only way I could express that was in a song called Perfect Picture, which I sang at his funeral.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 020 8247 4553, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

'Work with us to tackle youth crime' urge borough teenagers




TEENAGERS and the police should be working hand-in-hand to continue the crackdown on youth crime.
That is the verdict of borough Youth Parliament members Chikira Smith-Richards and Josiephine Durley who have written an insightful report on youth crime in Hammersmith and Fulham.
After quizzing 600 youngsters and holding focus groups last year, they found that a quarter of them did not feel safe and had fears about being robbed or caught up in fights.
They also found that young people are more likely to be targeted at four 'hotspots' - Westfield Shopping Centre, Shepherd's Bush Green, Hammersmith Broadway Shopping Centre and tube station and Ravenscourt Park between 3pm and 6pm during the week and 6pm and 9pm on weekends- and presented their findings to a council committee on April 11.
"The focus of the report is on 'hotspots' for the theft of personal property of young people and how to reduce the amount of young people who are victims of this offence," said the report.
"We decided to concentrate on this issue because, although H&F has a relatively low crime rate compared to other boroughs, after collecting an analysing questionnaires filled in by local young people we discovered that more than a quarter of respondents said that they felt unsafe in the borough with 26 per cent highlighting personal theft as the crime related issue that they were most concerned about."
Latest crime figures for February this year show there were 32 robberies in Hammersmith and 260 other thefts, which include shoplifting and theft from a person, 45 robberies and 206 thefts in Shepherd's Bush, and 27 robberies in Fulham and 187 other thefts.
Police regularly monitor crime trends with Safer Neighbourhood Teams and parks police patrolling hotspots while also visiting schools and organising events for young people.
Inspector Bob Glynn, H&F intelligence manager, said: "Young people are often out on the streets more, hanging around with friends. Young people also tend to keep up with and have all of the latest gadgets. New technology leads to new ways for young people to become victims of crime."
But the Youth Parliament members feel more can be done to tackle the problem including improved victim support, better promotion of police websites and information and engaging more with young people.
"Although the police do go into schools to do preventative work, we think it would be beneficial if there was a personal safety resource that could be used more widely by teachers and by older people with their peers," they said.
"In some other boroughs, young people work alongside police to help speak to young people and help promote activities to young people hanging around the streets. We think it would be really good if young people could do this in H&F. Young people could be trained to know what is out there for young people."

Monday, 16 April 2012

Olympic Flames (£1, all profits go to Thusha Kamaleswaran the 5 year old girl cruelly shot and paralysed in the crossfire during a gang shooting at her uncle's small grocery shop in South London)

Olympic Flames 2012 (click here to see at Amazon)

With the London Olympics in 2012 looming less than a year after the riots of August 2011, former policeman Chris Hobbs takes us on a fictionalised, policing scenario where all does not go according to plan. London's street gangs, right wing groups, Islamic extremists, irate fathers, Occupy activists and flash mobbers together with rebellious frontline police officers combine in a volatile Olympic mix that illustrates many of the complex social problems faced by society today.

This thought provoking 32,000 word novella will make uncomfortable reading for politicians and senior police officers alike.





It shows events through the eyes of one despairing cop and shows an escalating degree of problems in London, especially Hackney and Peckham, as the Olympics progresses. Whilst gangs in general and the Peckham gang featured are no angels, they aren't demonised either. The book also strongly suggests that the hierarchy of the Met have clearly 'lost the dressing room' as far as the frontline officers are concerned.

The last few pages show some degree of hope, for the police, the gangs and perhaps the UK generally.



Chris is a recently retired Metropolitan Police officer who served with Special Branch and Operation Trident. Since 2002, he spent a total of 18 months undertaking a number of deployments to Jamaica and is just completing a book which contains both light-hearted recollections of his experiences together with further alarming revelations in respect of UK
border controls.


Chris is a trustee of a small charity which assists Jamaican children from one of Kingston's most dangerous districts, to remain in education and has been privileged to meet many of those children whilst visiting the area in question. He is also an ageing DJ who has actually demonstrated his skills whilst in Jamaica and admits to being a Leyton Orient supporter.

Geographical space associated with London gangs

A couple of days ago a presentation by the Metropolitan Police was posted on the Herne Hill Forum website, called Gang Violence in London: Developing a Joint Approach (seehere).

Within the presentation was a map of ‘Gang Territories in the MPD’, which by all accounts was quite basic and inferior to the ones we have been able to produce at London Street Gangs.


Despite there being quite a lot of information on the map, it is clear to see that there are multiple methods used in which to map gangs according to each London borough. For example, in Croydon the territories used are actually regions of local council wards (they show Bensham Manor, Fieldway, New Addington, Thornton Heath, Woodside and parts of Croham and Fairfield). In Bromley, they show two perfect squares, one which covers Penge and Anerley and another north of Bromley Town centre.

Looking at the largest area of cover, it appears the largest geographical gang territories identified by the Metropolitan Police are in the boroughs of Greenwich and neighbouring Bexley, showing a massive sea of yellow from Woolwich right across to Erith and Northumberland Heath.

It got us thinking, which boroughs have the most geographical area claimed as gang turf in London?

Before we go into further detail, you have to remember that the very nature of gangs and gang membership is very fluid and there is no definitional consensus as to what a gang is. There are only a few studies which are UK based that consider the use and meaning of territoriality (see Joseph Rowntree Study, YoungPeople and Territoriality in British Cities and our GangMaps page).

Using our own gang maps, and using Gang Set Spaces (see GangMaps for information on Set Space) rather than territories, we have been able to calculate the total land area occupied by gangs across London. The map includes all housing areas which gangs or groups of youths identify with, and perceive to be their territory.


These residential areas are mapped below.


The total area covered by these shapes is 55.15 square kilometres, whilst the total area of London is 1,572 square kilometres. That is in effect 3.5% of London’s total geographical area. This varies considerably from nearer 20% in the East End (Hackney and Tower Hamlets) to virtually nothing in Hillingdon, Kingston upon Thames and Bromley (no data was available for Richmond upon Thames and Sutton – we have not been made aware of any currently active street based gangs in these boroughs).

Where we use the term territory or gang set space, please do not take this to be a battled for piece of land or turf. It more commonly refers to a geographical location where a gang, or group of young people, identify and associate with, it is where the majority of members may reside or choose to spend their free time milling. The idea of clearly delineated territories and boundaries being frequently contested is one that is exaggerated and in most cases inaccurate, however, it is that stereotype that captures the imagination of the media.

The map below is to denote the percentage of total area per borough in which gangs are claiming.

Those in red are boroughs where between 10-20% of land area is claimed as territory by gangs. They are Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Southwark and Tower Hamlets.

Those in orange are boroughs where between 7-10% of land area is claimed as territory by gangs. They are Camden, Greenwich, Haringey, Lewisham, Newham and Wandsworth.

Those in yellow are boroughs where between 4-7% of land area is claimed as territory by gangs. They are Barking & Dagenham, Brent, Croydon, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Waltham Forest and Westminster.

The remaining boroughs are below the London borough average of 3.5%, as previously stated there was no area known to be claimed in Richmond upon Thames and Sutton.

As would be expected, the total area in square kilometres claimed by each gang was higher than average (London average is 0.202 square kilometres) in boroughs with a smaller numbers of gangs (where groups can claim larger areas unchallenged) and also those with lower density residential neighbourhoods (populations spread over larger areas, low rise blocks and houses rather than high rise blocks).

Greenwich, which has four notable gangs, had the highest average gang territory space (1.079 square kilometres per gang). Greenwich covers 47.35 square kilometres whilst the residential areas claimed by gangs as turf is 4.31 square kilometres, or 9.1%.

In contrast, Hackney, which has in excess of thirty gangs, had the smallest gang territory space (0.092 square kilometres per gang). Hackney covers 19.1 square kilometres whilst the residential areas claimed by gangs as turf is 3.03 square kilometres, or 15.9%.

So how do these maps correspond with serious violent crimes?

After stumbling across some very interesting data released as part of an FOI, we have mapped the number of shootings and stabbings across London boroughs. According to the report from the Herne Hill forum website, the Metropolitan Police believe that 50% of shootings are carried out by gangs.

Below is a map showing the number of Trident and Trafalgar shooting for each London borough during the period covering April 2008 to March 2011. It shows that the boroughs with the highest numbers of gangs, or highest geographical coverage, do not necessarily produce the most shootings.

Exceptions to the rule worth pointing out are Islington and Tower Hamlets, lower volumes of shootings despite high concentrations of gangs. It may suggest gangs are more controlled or organised, or that they have less access to firearms. Similarly, the chance of being caught may be higher due to extensive CCTV networks and therefore deter offenders. In reality, there are an infinite number of reasons that could impact on this.

Other exceptions are Brent and Waltham Forest, areas with smaller numbers of gangs and less geographical area affected yet higher volumes of shootings. This may denote the opposite to what was stated above, less control and organisation and greater access to firearms for example.

The boroughs with the highest volume of shootings were Hackney, Lambeth, Southwark and Waltham Forest. 

The final map below shows the total number of knife injuries sustained during assaults for each London borough. The highest boroughs are Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark.


Ex-criminal Danny battles to stop Fulham teenagers using knives




As knife crime continues to devastate families in London and beyond, the issue of teenagers carrying blades remains very much to the fore. Reporter ADAM COURTNEY caught up with an extraordinary group of adults and children who are trying to persuade youngsters to: DROP THE KNIFE AND GET A LIFE
.
THE REFORMED CRIMINAL: Danny Davidge, 31, from Fulham. Twitter: @dannydenerosw6
Danny grew up on the tough Clem Attlee Estate and it wasn't long before he was causing trouble. "It's a tough place to live because there is a lot of peer pressure," says Danny, "I started burgling cars because I thought I was impressing the girls - there are so many of them that like a tough guy. But then I got locked up."
He spent three years in prison, came out and promptly got put inside again for driving without a licence. It was then that he realised he had to clean up his act after his family warned him any further jail time would lose him their support. Losing his friends to knife and gun crime rammed home the point.
"If you mix in certain circles, you are lucky to make 30 in Fulham. I'm serious. My friends were dropping like flies when I got to 25. I know people from both sides."
After working for the St Giles Trust, a charity for offenders, for six years, he turned his attention to the knife wielding youngsters which he says are growing in number.
"My generation used to take pen knives to school and would use them to pick our nails - we would never have stabbed people with them," said Danny, who is dad to Leon, 12, Daniel, five and Billy, three. "It's amazing how many have got them now and they are doing it for the same reason I used to burgle cars - to show off."
He is raising money to buy equipment to make three short anti-knife films, one of which is entitled Sharp Knife, Short Life, with his friend Harry Nudge, 29. The pair will recruit local school children as actors and will then show their work in classrooms.
"Naughty kids can relate to me because I have lived their lives. I have already persuaded a few to throw away their weapons and tell them there's another life. There's an idea that prison is glamorous in some way but there's nothing glamorous about being in confinement for 23 hours. Yes, you get a TV - but it's just a TV at the end of the day.
"They all want to be footballers and if they don't make it they think there's nothing else - but they can be anything, actors, artists, whatever. They don't need a knife to look cool."
THE TIRELESS CAMPAIGNER: Danny O'Brien, 46, from Ilford. Twitter: @milesnotknives
What makes a man suddenly devote his life - and his benefit money - to a tireless campaign to stop knife crime? Danny O'Brien can't really say why he's doing it - he just feels compelled to.
Through his Anti-Knife UK campaign he has organised a march for 5,000 people, raises awareness through social media and has just produced a series of emotive posters which are to be displayed by 30 football clubs and at schools up and down the country.
Danny said: "I remember in 2008 I was reading about kids dying on an almost daily basis - I looked into it and discovered there was even more of this happening than was getting reported. Families are being devastated too often."
Police numbers are a constant source of debate, but Danny says more officers on the streets is only a small part of the fight and sees prevention as the only cure.
"Officers can't be everywhere, no matter how many there are. Let's say you patrol the Clem Attlee Estate - the kids will just go off somewhere else," Danny said.
"The schools need to do more. How great would it be if someone like Danny, someone kids relate to, talked to them. You have to grab them early, when they're 11 and 12,"
Parents could also do more, says Danny. "Kids go to their rooms, go on their computers and get recruited by gangs in online chat rooms. Before they know it, they are leading that life - and it's difficult to get out."
Danny sometimes feels like giving up because of a lack of response to his ideas from government, but won't rest until he has made some progress.
"I would be stupid to say I can stop knife crime entirely but if I can stop one child carrying a knife it's worth it. We can't bury our heads in the sand."
THE PARENT, HER SON, HIS FRIENDS: Debbie Phelps, Tyrone Phelps, Stephano Chagas and Leonard Herbertson, all 12
Perhaps the most striking words come from Henry Compton pupil Leonard. "I always have to look over my shoulder, and I just think what's the point of even going out if there's a risk of getting hurt."
Leonard and his friends say most of their peers are carrying blades. They look like 12-year-olds but talk like they're older and more hardened than you think they should be, They talk about robbery and stabbing as if it's an everyday occurrence which, sadly, it seems to be.
But they are determined not to become part of it and Tyrone, a pupil at Hurlingham and Chelsea School, has penned a series of poems, which he hopes gain national recognition.
Mother Debbie, who has joined the two Dannys in promoting the poster campaign, said: "It's not easy and you have to watch them like a hawk but with the right direction you can keep them out of trouble."
* Find out more about Danny and Harry's films at www.alwayssmileentertainment.com

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Gang Violence in London - Developing a Joint Approach

The following presentation has been uploaded and made available by the Herne Hill residents forum. The presentation was created by the Metropolitan Police.


Gang Violence in London

Gang Researcher post - closing date 25th April 2012

Fixed Term Contract – Salary £26k pro rata
Based in central London, An exciting opportunity has arisen at Centre for Mental Health for a part time (0.5 FTE) Researcher working on an evaluation of an innovative project focused on young people involved in gangs, offending and anti-social behaviour in an inner London borough. The post is fixed term for three years and the post holder may have the option to go full-time as more sites are added to the research programme...


Click here for further details

Friday, 13 April 2012

Mum of murdered teen is up for Pride Award

Ealing Gazette

March from Ealing Hospital to Priory Centre in Acton in memory of Anton Hyman. Picture by Justin W Thomas
On the final week of nominations in the Gazette's Pride in Our People awards, run with the University of West London, we highlight people who have found strength in the face of overwhelming adversity.
A WOMAN whose son was brutally murdered on Mother's Day seven years ago and has campaigned against gun and knife crime ever since has been nominated by her daughter.
Anton Hyman, aged 17, was shot, beaten and left with multiple stab wounds in the River Brent, Greenford, on March 21, 2004. No-one has ever been charged with his murder.
While Anton's mother, Vanessa, has always fought to find his killers and still hopes for justice, she has spent the years since her son's death working with the police to help tackle gun and knife crime in West London.
Her daughter Cheyna Hyman-Lawrence, who nominated Vanessa for a community champion award, said: "Last year my mum worked with other organisations to organise a march and a conference and launched an organisation, A Mother's Teardrops.
"My mum is my inspiration, she is very supportive in everything I do, plays a leading role in running a local boys' club in partnership with Ealing police and works tirelessly to get justice for my brother. She also spends a great deal of time working with and talking to young people at risk of becoming involved with the wrong side of the law. I am very proud of my mum."
Vanessa, 45, of Disraeli Close, Chiswick, had no idea Cheyna had put her forward.
She said: "That's lovely. I have never been nominated for anything before. She's involved in everything I do and last year was a big year for her. I do still live in hope that I will get justice for Anton, but I can't allow it to rule my life because I have other children to consider."
She plans to continue her work by talking in local schools.
"I have been told by some parents that I have changed their children's ways," she said.