Police cadet who survived slashing leads City and Islington College students in “fear the silence not the streets” march
PUBLISHED: 08:29 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:33 17 April 2019
A student police cadet who survived a slashing led an anti-knife crime march through the streets of Islington earlier this month.
Danish Ahmed, 17, was among a number of City and Islington College student who spoke with their feet – in a march that passed Islington Town Hall and crowds of “cheering” bystanders – to demand more be done to make the streets safer for young people.
The “fear the silence not the streets walk” lobbied for more support services for young people and their families and an increased platform for role models – who may themselves be rehabilitated ex-offenders – to warn or inspire young people away from making the wrong decisions.
Danish, who is himself a mentor, told the Gazette: “In the past year we have seen a rise in knife crime and violent attacks are on the rise.
“All of these experiences and growing up in an area [Waltham Forest] where it was so dangerous to walk out some nights is why I work with all these groups.
“A group of kids at school wanted to raise awareness and get people talking about it.
“A couple of years back I was walking down the street and received a blow to my face and the next thing I knew I was being attacked with a knife.
“But luckily I received no serious or life-changing injuries.”
He told the Gazette a group of men wearing balaclava chased him until he could no longer run before smashing his head against a wall and slashing him with a blade.
The attack ended after people came out of a neighbouring restaurant and called the police, he said.
Danish was already enrolled in the volunteer police cadets at the time of the attack, but said the incident made him even more determined to help other youngsters avoid knife violence.
The student is also a speaker for the Breck Foundation, which educates young people about the dangers of the internet, and was established after 14-year-old Breck Brednar was killed by a man he'd only met through an chat room in 2014.
Danish also spoke out against the county lines crimes going on in Islington and across the country, where gangs of adults or older teenagers groom young people to traffick drugs into other cities and coastal areas.
“I had a mate who I'd known for a couple of years,” he said. “And he got groomed but luckily the police got him away. I wasn't expected it.”
Danish also believes people involved in or witness to crimes need more “professional and anonymous” services to turn to in times of crisis.
Asked what was wrong with the independent and anonymous Crimestoppers charity, he expressed concern young people see it as somehow connected to the police.
Knife crime yet again devastated the Islington community when 17-year-old former St Mary Magdalene Academy student Nedim Bilgin was stabbed to death in Caledonian Road in January.