Police cadet leads City and Islington College students in “fear the silence not the streets” march

City and Islington College students protesting against knife crime. Picture: Danish Ahmed

City and Islington College students protesting against knife crime. Picture: Danish Ahmed - Credit: Archant

A student police cadet led an anti-knife crime march through the streets of Islington.

The 17-year-old, who has asked not to be named, was among a number of City and Islington College students 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.

Their "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.

He 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."

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.

He 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.

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"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 expecting it."

He 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.