Hertfordshire youth attend gang and knife crime evening

Young people across Herts heard about the consquences of gang involvement and knife crime. Picture:

Young people across Herts heard about the consquences of gang involvement and knife crime. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Young people across Hertfordshire heard about the life-changing consequences of being involved in a gang earlier this month.

Hertfordshire University hosted a Lives not Knives evening on Tuesday, February 11 for young people and their parents.

The event was overseen by Luton Crown Court Judge Barbara Mensah. She explained how joint enterprise can mean that by being just present when a violent crime takes place can lead to a prosecution.

Paramedic Sharon Anthony spoke about the reality of responding to knife crime incidents and saving lives in London. Darren Awolesi, from Reach Every Generation, spoke about living with the effects of violence after he was shot in March 2011.

Adam Davidson, from Hertfordshire Sports Partnership (HSP), spoke about how he has turned his life around through boxing and Josh Spavins, also from HSP, launched their new project "Career Mode."

Tracey Hanson's son, Josh, was murdered in an unprovoked knife attack in 2015 and Tracey recounted the traumatic experience of losing a child to knife crime and the devastating effect that this has had on her family.

Respected DJ and rapper Quinton Green finished the evening with a powerful performance of spoken word piece, 'The Knife Sentence'.

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He also talked to the teenagers about the music project he is currently running in partnership with Hertfordshire Police and YC Hertfordshire.

Sergeant Helen Croughton from the gangs and schools team said: "This is the fourth Lives not Knives event that we have run, aimed at young people at risk of criminal exploitation. This allows the young people to hear the reality rather than the façade of the glamourous lifestyle which they often believe is being offered.

"This event really has an impact upon the young people who attend and encourages them to make positive choices and recognise dangerous situations and friendships. We have a wide range of agencies offering positive alternatives for the young people to engage with ranging from sports programmes, apprenticeships and music interventions. We will continue to work with those at risk of gang affiliation and associated criminality to help them achieve positive change."

Anyone who is concerned about gang or knife crime can call the police non-emergency number 101.

Young people who need help and advice about these issues can visit: www.herts.police.uk/cyp.