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Islington police teach 1,500 primary school pupils about knife crime and stranger danger

PUBLISHED: 17:13 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 12 July 2019

Police giving safety advice to youngsters at the Sobell Leisure Centre. Picture: Brian Smith

Police giving safety advice to youngsters at the Sobell Leisure Centre. Picture: Brian Smith

Archant

Primary school pupils across Islington were taught about knife crime, victim support and stranger danger as part of a safety scheme led by local police.

Police giving safety advice to youngsters at the Sobell Leisure Centre. Picture: Brian SmithPolice giving safety advice to youngsters at the Sobell Leisure Centre. Picture: Brian Smith

Islington officers have run the Junior Citizenship Scheme for almost 30 years, teaching children in the area to take precautions for their own safety and welfare. And given the current knife epidemic, they believe it is now needed more than ever.

This year the three-week scheme, which finished on Friday, worked with 37 local primary schools to help roughly 1,500 youngsters.

Sobell Leisure Centre on Hornsey Rd donated a set of rooms to the initiative free of charge.

Pc Brian Smith, who organises the programme, said: "It is important to increase the children's awareness and give them the knowledge and skills needed for when they are in the real world."

Police giving safety advice to youngsters at the Sobell Leisure Centre. Picture: Brian SmithPolice giving safety advice to youngsters at the Sobell Leisure Centre. Picture: Brian Smith

The students, aged between 10 and 11, each took part in eight 10-minute activities on a range of subjects.

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Three other organisations also led sessions: Islington Council, Arsenal Football Club and The Children and Young Person Service.

Eugene Toerien, a teacher at Duncombe Primary who has been involved with the scheme for the past 15 years, said: "I know many of the officers from their visits to the school. They are always doing useful talks around knife crime.

"Despite living in the area we do, some of the children are surprisingly innocent and naïve. In the scenario [on stranger danger], they will almost always go off with a stranger.

"We don't want them to live in fear but we want them to keep themselves safe."

The students also benefitted from a talk on knife crime by Jessica Plummer, whose son Shaquan Sammy-Plummer was stabbed to death in 2015 aged 17.

Pc Vittorio D'Orsi, who will run the scheme from next year, said: "It is so hard-hitting because more people than ever are now touched by crime."

Jessica Plummer, who set up the Shaquan Sammy-Plummer Foundation in memory of her son, said: "I praise the police for what they are doing: for trying to help our youth.

"I feel honoured to work with them to raise awareness and teach children about the dangers of knives, which affect not only families but also the community."

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