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An article taken from Fighting Knife Crime

Fighting Knife Crime: The Clinical Director for the London Violence Reduction Programme and Clinical Director for Violence Reduction NHSE gives an insight into the cause and effect of serious violence amongst young people

SOURCE:

Martin Griffiths CBE, Consultant Trauma and Vascular Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, and Clinical Director for the London Violence Reduction Programme and Clinical Director for Violence Reduction NHSE, gives us an insight into the cause and effect of serious violence amongst young people.

A child arrives on a hospital ward with traumatic injuries inflicted during a knife fight with someone of his own age. He may be brought in on a stretcher, still wearing his school uniform. This is not a fanciful scenario in London, where I grew up and have spent most of my working life. Grouped by age, the greatest number of victims of knife wounds are 16-year olds. The second biggest cohort is 15-year olds.

What responsibility does the NHS have towards this injured child? First of all, of course his injuries must be treated so that he is restored to physical health, which the NHS does brilliantly. The traditional view of the NHS’s responsibilities was to say we are a recovery service for the injured and the ill, and that is it. We patch them up and send them home: the rest is up to the police and social care services.

But a curious person asks what will happen to the boy who is discharged from hospital and sent straight back into the environment where he sustained his injuries? We start at the wrong end, in the wrong place, after the child has been injured. We need to know, and more importantly understand the story that preceded that injury.

No one reading this will be surprised to know that the victims of knife wounds are almost all from poor families, and from groups often denied access to the mechanics of authority. We know many of these people face inequalities and challenges, such as drug addiction, obesity, mental health issues, poor school results and poor employment prospects.

We could talk about the small amount of organised crime, which dominates the headlines, which is a separate issue. Most of what is termed ‘gang culture’ is simply groups of disadvantaged youths banding together to assert themselves. For a young person growing up in an environment with high levels of violence, carrying a knife is a way of saying “I handle my own business. I’m not docile I will not be a victim. Nobody crosses me. If they do, I’m going to deal with it myself.” It’s a way of asserting significance, of taking power.

As a consultant trauma surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, I came to the conclusion years ago that the NHS is brilliant at treating a person’s injuries but terrible at treating the injured person.

It’s an attitude that fails young patients and their families. It’s not socially responsible. It’s not even a money saver. The child who has been in one knife fight, who is sent straight back into the same environment, with nothing having changed in his life except that he has a new scar, is probably going to get involved in another fight. Next time, he may be the perpetrator rather than the victim. It’s very rarely an older person who has injured a teenager, and where that happens, there is usually some other driver involved, such as the drug trade. These injuries, in almost all cases, are inflicted by teenagers on teenagers. Treat one and send him home, and there will be another along soon.

To try to stop this churn, I set up the first wards-based violence reduction service in the Royal London Hospital in 2015 in which we recognise that a person’s injury is a marker of their life story. It’s not about criminality, it’s about understanding that person’s life. To start with, the patient is addressed by name and treated as a person with a back story. We’ve brought community police officers onto the ward, not to investigate a crime, but to make human contact with a teenager who is likely to think that the police are the enemy.

With funding from the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction unit and charities, we introduced the patients to violence reduction specialists, people without medical background but with training as social workers or in related fields. They have the gifts of livedexperience, relatability and emotional intelligence that make them perfect for helping the victims of injury navigate this unfamiliar and scary landscape.

I believe Health and Care Services have a unique role in improving wellbeing and tackling inequalities for people impacted by serious violence. To make this a reality, the NHS London Violence Reduction Programme was set up in 2019 to support clinical teams and to work with experts and those with lived experience to co- create health and care approaches that work for communities.

And, in 2019, I had an email from Simon Stevens’ office, then the Chief Executive of the NHS, asking if I would take the programme nationwide. I was hugely uncertain. I’m a trauma surgeon: I am not professionally qualified as a public health expert, and questioned my credibility in this deeply emotive field. But in Leeds, Manchester, Middlesborough and in rural areas in the south west, many of the drivers are the same as they are in London, although the outputs of that societal failure appear different. More importantly, some of the solutions are applicable to the UK as a whole. So, I agreed, and was appointed the NHS’s first Clinical Director for Violence Reduction.

People question whether violence reduction is part of the business of the NHS. But the NHS is where the victims of that violence are treated. The NHS is the umbrella, not the rain. The question is how do we affect climate change?

Martin P Griffiths CBE

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Child Criminal Exploitation CCE

Article is written by Anthony Peltier

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/child-criminal-exploitation-cce-anthony-peltier

Cost of living increases will result in more young children being criminally exploited.

As we head into a 28% increase in gas prices and 19% increase in electricity prices, low-income households will spend a larger proportion than average on energy and food. This will mean ‘groomers’ will target vulnerable children from families trying to make ends meet. 

In late 2019, criminal exploitation was the most prevalent type of exploitation among children with 2,544 children identified as potential victims. 93% of these children were boys – an increase in the proportion of boys identified as potential victims of criminal exploitation at the beginning of 2019.

 Across all exploitation types, 78% of children identified as potential victims were boys – again, an increase in the number of male victims compared to figures for early 2019. Increased understanding of child criminal exploitation is likely to be a significant driver for the higher number of UK national boys identified. This is due to professionals and institutions now recognising young males involved in supplying drugs and other criminal activities as victims rather than treating them as offenders.

Criminal exploitation is child abuse where children and young people are manipulated and coerced into committing crimes. These include:

·        Children as young as eight years old being used to carrying drugs strapped to their bodies.

·        Children being used to carry loaded weapons

·        Children being forced to work in cannabis factories

·        Children being used to move drugs and money across the country

·        Children being forced to shoplift and pickpocket

·        Children forced to bully other young peoplr

How would you know if your child is being criminally exploited?

  • Frequently absent from school and performing badly
  • Going missing from home, staying out late and travelling for unexplained reasons
  • In a relationship or hanging out with someone older than them
  • Being angry, aggressive or violent
  • Being isolated or withdrawn
  • Having unexplained money and buying new things
  • Wearing clothes or accessories in gang colours or getting tattoos
  • Using new slang words
  • Spending more time on social media and being secretive about time online
  • Making more calls or sending more texts, possibly on a new phone or phones
  • Self-harming and feeling emotionally unwell
  • Taking drugs and abusing alcohol
  • Committing petty crimes like shoplifting or vandalism
  • Unexplained injuries and refusing to seek medical help
  • Carrying weapons or having a dangerous breed of dog.

NSPCC 2021

Safeguarding children is the responsibility of every adult in society.

Parents: if you see your child bring something home, you have not bought them, question!

School teachers: if you feel something is not right with a pupil in your class because you understand the signs of exploitation, report it!

Headteachers: continually ensure your staff are fully trained about the causes of child vulnerability (Safeguarding Concerns)

Police Officers: work with schools to identify the children who are victims of crime or perceived criminals.

Social services: listen to the people who know the victims of abuse and begin the referral process.

School Police Officers and teachers: collaborate to teach children how to stay safe from all the causes of child abuse.

Government: ensure the resources exist to allow all departments to keep children safe.  

 A multi-agency approach is needed to ensure we safeguard children from all forms of abuse.

Youth Unity StopNASk

Stop and Search

Stop and search has been a controversial feature of policing for decades. You might think it was being reduced, in a post-Macpherson, post-Black Lives Matter world, where people have been talking about how to decrease the grossly disproportionate overpolicing of black communities for so long. But shockingly, provisions in the policing bill will widely increase its use and water down the need for suspicion in a number of ways. If it passes, the bill will enable police to stop and search people subject to certain orders at any time without any suspicion; and anyone at all in a certain area, if they believe certain types of protests might take place nearby.

Opinion

I’m a police officer, and I fear increased powers of stop and search will undermine public trust

Andy George

We know that stop and search is overwhelmingly used on one particular group: black people are at least eight times as likely as their white counterparts to be stopped and searched. The constant threat of stop and search makes young black men and boys nervous around the police; it chips away at trust and respect and means the very people who are meant to be viewed as protectors, are viewed as oppressors.

Community engagement needs to be seen as crime prevention and essential to effective policing. Gangs thrive where policing is not legitimate and if we want to protect communities from the minority of people involved in serious violence, we must ensure we have meaningful and long-term community engagement in the most deprived areas. Real crime prevention requires police to work with communities to build trust so that they feel confident in letting us know who is causing most harm. You simply cannot enforce your way out of serious violence.

I know that all too well from my time spent living and policing in Northern Ireland, which witnessed the most violent and protracted conflict to take place in the UK in living memory. I joined as a constable in 1999 and spent 10 years in the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s armed response unit before being promoted to inspector. In 1999, we had about 13,500 police officers, backed up by more than 7,000 military personnel with static checkpoints going into most towns and cities.

I have no doubt the use of stop and search in Northern Ireland saved lives, but despite the heavy footprint and use of powers, the killing still continued until we sat down with those engaged in the violence and put measures in place to deal with the causes of violence. Now, we police a larger population with about 7,000 police officers, and with no military personnel routinely patrolling with us. Despite the progress that has been made, we still have active paramilitaries coercing and exploiting the community; these paramilitaries thrive in areas where trust in the police is low and where communities feel powerless to speak out against them. Individuals will often work with the police if they are treated with courtesy and respect instead of as suspects with no sufficient grounds.

Both the College of Policing and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary have questioned the effectiveness of existing stop-and-search powers in the detection and prevention of crime. Both bodies concluded that the overuse and misuse of the power has clearly undermined public trust and confidence in the police, specifically among Black and Asian communities who are so disproportionately targeted.

These warnings should be heeded. It’s often said that it’s natural for police to want ever more powers. The old adage is it’s for police to ask and the minister to say no. In this case, though, important voices from within policing, and policing oversight bodies, are united in their opposition to the increased use of stop-and-search powers included within the policing bill. The last thing we need is more of what doesn’t target the causes of crime or reduce serious violence.

  • Andy George is president of the National Black Police Association

Source:

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Youth Unity’s Paul McKenzie, wins an award at the London International Film Festival for his short screenplay SICK, the movie

Special Thanks to Elizabeth Lykins, PA-C, MPAS  
CEO/Publisher – Magnificent Metamorphosis Magazine
Author of Reflections on Transcendence
www.linktr.ee/elykins 

Paul has enjoyed changing the lives of hundreds of people over the last 15 years. Paul is the co-founder of Youth Unity CIC,  a not-for-profit organisation which was created to empower young people through media, sports and music. Their focus is on serious youth violence, however they also work to address other important topics and raise awareness on issues within communities, using media as a tool, particularly through filmmaking.

With the signs of serious youth violence spanning back almost a decade, Paul has focused much of his time in engaging young people on a street level. His core beliefs are that The behaviour is never the real person.

Youth Unity has produced short powerful films that highlight specific issues and capture the unique essence of everyday people’s stories, with a more recent focus on the voices of covid.

Many of the films produced are done with zero funding; just a passion to empower the young people and highlight important issues. These messages are shared internationally and contain inspirational, thought-provoking material.

Paul believes that within every community, there are people hidden that have the ability to be Superheroes, and by that he means GREAT.

About SICK THE MOVIE

Paul McKenzie took seven young people over the half term and embarked on a massive film project to highlight the need for more focus on mental health. They didn’t use knives, they didn’t need guns… all that was needed was a passion to change the narrative and a drive for change.

The young people chose to address the issue of mental health. So many young people are displaying early signs of mental health challenges and it is this that has inspired the making of the short film – SICK.  To reduce stigma, mental health needs to be seen as something that concerns us all. Using film as a platform, offers a chance to bring mental health into the spotlight and raise awareness with the indicators that young people can identify with, to seek help.

Discussing a film can help people with mental health problems to broach difficult subjects. Screenings of our films that focus on mental health are used to foster discussion, create empathy and reduce stigma

The Short film SICK went on to be screened exclusively at the National Gallery, making history in black history month, by being the first short screenplay to ever be screened at the National Gallery. It has also been selected for awards at other festivals across the globe.

This latest project enables more young people to access training and experience in media and film, with the emphasis of accrediting these workshops for young people that find it hard to access mainstream education. These workshops will promote and enable young people to become more confident in many areas of their lives.

Paul has five sons and understands the need to be congruent in his approach to helping young people to overcome challenges they may be facing.  Paul remains proud to have contributed to major changes in the way we address specific issues that challenge commun-ities, especially the issues that affect our youth.

Paul is available for a phone or radio interviews. Interviews with some of the young people who took part in the filming can also be

Websites: 

youthunity.org/

3DOM Youtube Channel

Please subscribe to https://magsfast.com/

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Bexley Council commission Youth Unity to deliver Outreach Work in the borough

Youth Unity will be working in the Bexley area over the next year giving support and reassurance to the local residents.

Our aim is to promote the positive benefits of community participation and social activism and to empower vulnerable young people with practical ways to remove violence from their lives.

Our aim of is to ensure, whether identified through formal (e.g., schools) or informal (e.g. outreach) routes, that when young people need safeguarding against serious youth violence, exploitation and other forms of vulnerability they can find support easily and to be able to trust it.

Central to building trust is ensuring a child’s need is met by the right response from parents and professionals alike so the project uses workshops to ensure they are prepared to identify and respond.

If you would like to know more please get in touch

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Met Police insists London knife crime is ‘not out of control’ despite 13 teenagers stabbed to death this year

A Metropolitan Police commander has insisted London knife crime “is not out of control”, despite 13 teenagers having lost their lives to fatal stabbings so far this year.

Fares Maatou, just 14, is among a worrying number of young men killed on London’s streets in the last five months.

That came just three days before 18-year-old Junior Jah was blasted with a shotgun before being stabbed in the same area of East London on April 26.

However, Commander Alex Murray, the Met’s Violence Lead, believes police are not “fighting a losing battle”when it comes to knife crime and Londoners “should be reassured” with the work officers are undertaking to take knives and firearms off the streets.

Speaking to My London on Tuesday (May 11), he also said that those carrying a knife “are so much more likely to be a victim of a stabbing”.

He added: “We need to understand why people carry knives. We also have a job as police to prevent violence right now. The key role of policing is, at first, to stop the bleeding.

“While we need to understand the causes, right now we need deal with the acute issue of people, often young, carrying knives.The tragedy and irony is that it is a for a feeling of safety.

“The irony is that the data is incredibly strong that if you carry a knife, you are so much more likely to be a victim of a stabbing.

“You can just imagine, if you get into a fight and you’re not carrying a knife, it is going to end in one way, but probably not with someone being stabbed or being stabbed yourself, but if you are carrying a knife it is a totally different picture.

“The other one is the credibility and prestige, unfortunately. That is something we as society, communities and families need to consider around making it not credible to carry a knife.”

Operation Sceptre, which ran from April 26 to May 2, resulted in Met officers seizing more than 400 knives from the street, including machetes, rambo, lock and kitchen knives.

Data obtained by My London via a Freedom of Information request, though, show that there has been a 10-fold rise in the number of incidents recorded by Met Police involving the use of zombie knives.

Anti-knife campaigners have also argued that police are “fighting a losing battle” and deadly knives are simply “too readily available” for young people.

In a bid to tackle the issue at source, officers aged between 18 and 25 have been carrying out test purchase operations to check if retailers are following the correct “Challenge 25” policy, with 71 out of 212 retailers selling the knife without seeing any ID.

Commander Murray say, though, that Met data suggests knife crime is falling in London.

May 10 marked a year since the formation of the Met’s Violence Suppression Units, groups made up of local officers who are solely based in their geographic area with the purpose of being alive to specific issues and building vital relationships. The proactive units identify and target the most serious offenders and tackle the key drivers of violence.

In their year of operation to date, they have seized made a total of 6,031 arrests for violent offences, including robbery GBH and murder.

More than 1,000 weapons have also been seized, including 81 firearms, and £1.5million in cash from criminality confiscated.

He adds: “You have to look at the amount of arrests we have made and the amount of knives recovered, coupled with the data. Data is one thing, and is doesn’t take away from the tragedy of people getting stabbed, but in the last 12 months we have 226 less people under the age of 25 stabbed than in the preceding 12 months – that is a 16 per cent reduction.

“There has been a 28 per cent reduction in overall knife crime compared to the 12 months previously. I don’t think it adds up that we are fighting a losing battle, but anyone getting stabbed is unacceptable.”https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mylondon.news%2Fnews%2Fzone-1-news%2Fmet-police-insists-london-knife-20587837&cre=bottom&cip=28&view=web

Newham residents also told My London they were “scared to go out” and that the issue of knife crime was “constant and getting worse” following two fatal stabbing taking place just three days apart.

His message to such residents is that police will “never rest on our laurels” and violence continued to be “the number one priority” for officers.

Commander Murray rounds off with a simple message to Londoners.

If you do not want to listen to police, at least listen to the five mums who have taken part in the Hard Calls Save Lives campaign

The video shows the parents recalling the harrowing moment they found out their family members had become London’s latest victims of knife crime.

He concludes: “If you’re reading this and don’t know anyone that carries a knife, circulate the video and get people talking about it.”

Source: https://www.mylondon.news/news/zone-1-news/met-police-insists-london-knife-20587837

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Mobile Intervention Vehicle

Serious Youth Violence – ONE STOP SHOP Pop Up Intervention Van to help tackle knife crime by offering educational workshops, help advice and signposting

The aim of which is to collaborate with statutory organisations delivery a one stop mobile intervention centre. We will act as a central point for delivery of workshops / focus groups and other activities. Pinpointing is particularly effective in coordinating responses from people with varying backgrounds and experiences, in including those who are usually reluctant to participate. The Detached work: young people are sought in the locations on the street where they usually spend their time. It aims to create contact, council, and provide assistance. Working with groups: a variety of groups that are accessible through schools, through single young people and “cliques”. The ‘mobile youth intervention centre’ that can be used be utilised to transport the event equipment for the pop-up workshops, the filming equipment, along with the general day to day running of the business.

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