Parents attended an awareness evening to learn about the dangers of their children becoming involved with knife crime, gangs and county lines – with over 40 attendees.
Hertsmere Community Safety Partnership organised the event in conjunction with Meryfield Community Primary School in Borehamwood, which aimed to teach parents how to spot the signs that their child could be at risk of becoming involved in criminality.
Alison Cope, the mother of Joshua Ribera who was murdered in 2013, spoke about the realities of knife crime. She reassured parents and encouraged them to support their child, learn more, to openly discuss these topics and seek help if needed. Prior to the evening session, Alison spent the day at the school, speaking to young people in years five and six.
Laurelle Brown from KIP (Knowledge is Power) Education spoke about gangs, county lines, grooming and how to spot the signs.
At the awareness session, parents heard about the harsh realities of county lines, which is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more areas within the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines.
It was explained how drug dealers identify young people, the grooming process and the young people’s roles within county lines. Parents were informed of the signs that young people display when they are involved in gangs and county lines, what parents should look out for, such as changes in their behaviour, use of new slang words and new friends that they may have met online.
Cllr Pervez Choudhury, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: “Hertsmere is a safe place to live, but we cannot afford to become complacent, especially with the violent crime being experienced in the neighbouring areas.
“It was great that so many parents attended the awareness evening, which provided vital information and will hopefully enabled parents to be more proactive and prevent their child from becoming involved in criminality.”
Alex Gage, Head Teacher at Meryfield Community Primary School, said: “This event is an excellent example of local schools working together with other agencies and the wider community to keep our young people safe.
“We know there are dangers out there that our children face, but by arming parents with information, they then feel empowered to work with schools and the police to steer their children on a positive path.
“We are learning from the heart-breaking stories of others to help us make changes to protect our community.”
If you have any concerns around drug and knife crime in Hertsmere, you can get in touch with the police on the non-emergency number 101. If a crime is in progress, always call 999.
For more information about knife crime, gangs and drugs, visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org and https://www.fearless.org/en.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The awareness session took place on Wednesday 10 October.
For more information or to arrange a workshop at your school, contact Loran Kingston on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8207 2277.
Posted on Monday 21st October 2019