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Reformed gang member to address Islington summit on knife crime

PUBLISHED: 14:53 17 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:53 17 February 2016

Junior Smart, left, of the SOS Gangs Project, is to speak at a crime summit in Islington Assembly Hall. He is pictured meeting the Duke of Cambridge in 2013. Picture: PA/Press Association Images

Junior Smart, left, of the SOS Gangs Project, is to speak at a crime summit in Islington Assembly Hall. He is pictured meeting the Duke of Cambridge in 2013. Picture: PA/Press Association Images

PA/Press Association Images

A former gang member and drug dealer is to speak at a crime and safety summit which will discuss the youth violence and knife crime that has plagued Islington.

Last year, three teenagers were stabbed to death in our borough, while serious knife-related incidents were at a five-year high.

The summit, announced today, will take place in Islington Assembly Hall on Saturday, March 5. Anyone who attends is welcome to share their ideas on how to tackle crime and make Islington safer.

The ex-gang member, Junior Smart, turned his life around and is the founder of the SOS Gangs Project, which helps transform the lives of 400 troubled young people and ex-offenders a year.

Other speakers on the day include Islington Council’s community safety leader Cllr Paul Convery, police borough commander Catherine Roper and safer neighbourhood board chairwoman Roz Miller.

Cllr Convery said: “Youth violence is a major concern for our community and a top priority for the council and police.

“We’re working closely together to set up a dedicated gangs team, take action and enforcement against offenders and stop more young teenagers being lured into gangs.

“Enforcement is only part of the solution – it’s also hugely important that young people live in a supportive community which offers positive choices for people who might otherwise be tempted into crime.

“This is an issue that affects our whole community and our whole community has a part to play in dealing with it. I look forward to hearing from as many people as possible at the crime summit.”

The summit will run from 10am-1pm, with lunch and refreshments provided.

To secure a place, you will need to register in advance. Places are on a first come, first served basis.

To find out more, visit islington.gov.uk/crimesummit or email csputeam@islington.gov.uk

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