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Young gang members were persuaded to change their lives and get away from crime at a ground-breaking event.

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Islington Council held one of London’s first “gang call-ins” to educate the youngsters and their parents about the risks of being involved with crime, including eviction, prison, life-changing injury and even death.

They heard from specialist youth workers, housing officers, community safety staff and Islington police, and were invited to chat to a bereaved young person, an ex-gangster who turned his life around and a London paramedic who spoke about the stab injuries he has seen.

Chief Insp Claire Clark, from Islington police, said: “It was hard-hitting and clearly informed the young people that they had a choice, and that if they chose not to change their behaviour or take the opportunities that were being offered, then they would see the consequences of that choice.”

Five of the young people who attended have signed up for a business start-up course and another has secured a job from a contact made at the call-in.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “The gang call-in offered young gang members the chance to move away from a life blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour.

“It was also clearly explained that if young gang members do not change their ways, they risk very serious consequences.”

Young gang members or parents wanting help with gangs call 020 7527 2000.

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