Almost 300 year 6 students, professionals and parents took part in a three-day Choices and Consequences event about the dangers of gangs and criminality.
The event, organised by the Hertsmere Community Safety Partnership, was split in to three sessions. The young people, aged 10 to eleven, took part in two days of talks and activities focussed on how they can make better choices to prevent them from going down the wrong path, which included bespoke sessions on knife crime, gangs, grooming and coercion alongside advice on emotional wellbeing and coping strategies.
The professionals attended for a day to hear from experts in serious youth violence and child criminal exploitation, whilst the parents attended an evening session for advice on how to spot the signs that their child might be involved in anti-social behaviour, crime, exploitation or had joined a gang.
Cllr Pervez Choudhury, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: “I am delighted so many young people, parents and professionals were able to attend the Choices and Consequences event to learn about the pressures many young people are under to get involved in anti-social behaviour or criminality and how to make positive choices under these pressures.
"We work with our police colleagues and other partners in the Community Safety Partnership on a number of issues to create a safer Hertsmere for everyone. This event is one example of how we are trying to reach young people to raise awareness of the dangers of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour, crime, county lines or gangs.
"I would like to thank our local schools for attending the event, the young people for being engaged and the speakers who gave interesting and informative talks. We believe that people with first-hand experience and how they’ve overcome their challenges, better connect and inspire young people. Our aim is to help our young residents make informed decisions about what they are getting involved in, which can have devastating consequences, as well as raise awareness amongst parents and professionals of how to spot the signs.
“During the session, the young people were encouraged to talk to their friends, parents, teachers or even the police about their concerns. Anyone can report their concerns anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or their untraceable online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or the police's non-emergency number 101.”
Sarah Kneller, Headteacher at Summerswood Primary School, said: "We are delighted that Hertsmere Community Safety Partnership has delivered these very important and thought provoking presentations about making positive choices. Our young people were interested and engaged throughout the session.
“It is vital that schools are proactive in their approach to tackling crime and gang culture. Having people who can talk through the realities and consequences of getting involved with gangs or criminality is important in getting the message across. I would highly recommend these sessions."
Safer Neighbourhood Inspector for Hertsmere, Rachael Robertson said: “This event is being held during the national knife crime week of action where we raise awareness of the dangers of carrying knives and offer people the opportunity to surrender them.
“Whilst knife related crime is lower in Hertfordshire than other areas, it does still happen, and we work to tackle it alongside our specialist Gangs and Schools Team and our partners in the Community Safety Partnership. Educating young people at an early stage is a crucial element in preventing and deterring them from becoming involved and we are pleased to support this initiative.”
The Choices and Consequences event took place between Monday 16 May and Wednesday 18 May, which included a one-day professional’s event and a two-day Year 6 student event with a parent’s evening.
Students from Summerswood Primary School, St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School and Meryfield Community Primary School took part.
The event was hosted by Summerswood Primary School.
At the event, representatives from the No More Service, Herts MIND, Herts Young Homeless, Beacon, CYP Gangs and Schools, The Football Chance Foundation and the Police Cyber Prevent Team, gave talks alongside Alison Cope, who spoke about losing her son to knife crime and Dimtri Jordan, an ex-gang member, who talked about gangs, specifically their grooming and coercion techniques.
For more information or to arrange a workshop at your school, contact Holly Wilson, Community Safety Intervention Officer, on email@example.com or call 020 8207 2277.
Alternatively visit www.hertsmere.gov.uk/csp for more information on Hertsmere Community Safety Partnership.
Two short films on the event can be viewed on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/Vf7lVftS1cg and https://youtu.be/CnENb9zy12E
Posted on Thursday 19th May 2022