Knife-crime charity to appear at Islington’s crime summit

Islington Assembly Hall

Islington Assembly Hall - Credit: Archant

‘If we want to fight what happened to Alan, we need to combat the gang culture’ says founder

A knife-crime charity will take centre stage at a debate on how to tackle the worrying surge in youth violence.

Let’s Get Talking will showcase at Islington’s second annual Crime and Safety Summit, at Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, on Saturday amid an explosion in stabbings among the borough’s young people.

In the last month there have been at least five reported teen knifings in the borough, with the latest leading to the death of 15-year-old Alan Cartwright, while the latest crime figures show violent crime among the borough’s young people has shot up 40 per cent.

Sue Scott-Horne, founder of the charity, said: “We have been asked because you won’t find a lot of people doing what we’re doing - the full on, hit between the eyes education.

“We are getting a lot of interest at the moment from youth clubs, pupil referral units and schools.

“First we take them to the Ben Kinsella exhibition - we work in conjunction with the Ben Kinsella trust.

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“It’s powerful, we often have kids crying as they come out. But you have to scare them. When kids are stabbing other kids, you have to do something drastic.

“Then we hold discussions about anger, because many of the young people have lots of aggression, and bereavement - what happens when someone gets stabbed, the loss, the sway a whole community can break down.

“Some of these young people don’t even know it’s against the law to carry a knife. They think they are protected carrying one in a sock.

“And it’s so prevalent. One class I was in, 27 out of 30 kids had either carried or knew someone who had carried a knife.

“If we want to fight what happened to Alan, we need to combat the gang culture. We need to get these young people to experience more feelings, more empathy.

“I just hope something useful comes out of the meeting - agencies working together, a definite plan of action.

“It’s really worrying what’s going on

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “Tackling youth crime is a top priority for police and the council. We all have a part to play, and the involvement of young people themselves is most important of all.”

Young people at the event, which starts at 10am, will be given the chance to speak about the impact of crime and give a picture of what it is like growing up in the borough.

Click here to find out more about Let’s Get Talking or the Islington Crime and Safety Summit.