Islington's gangs are helped to change their lives
By poppy_smith | Saturday, July 07, 2012, 14:26
Islington's young gang members are being helped to change their lives and get away from crime following Islington's first "gang call-in".
The call-in, one of the first-ever in London, was organised by Islington Council and involved specialist youth workers, housing officers, community safety staff and Islington Police.
Gang members and their parents were invited to learn about the risks of being involved with crime, including eviction, prison, life-changing injury and even death.
They heard from a bereaved young person, an ex-gang member who turned their life around, a London paramedic who spoke about stab injuries he'd seen and their effects, and Islington Police.
Also, young people were able to meet local organisations offering education and training, mentoring, work experience and jobs.
Since the call-in youth workers, Job Centre Plus staff and other partners are continuing to engage with the young people.
Five of the young people who attended have signed up for a Business Start Up course and another has got a job from a contact made at the call-in.
Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council's executive member for community safety, said: "We're on the side of residents and want a safer Islington with less crime and anti-social behaviour.
"The gang call-in offered young gang members the chance to move away from a life blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour.
"It was also clearly explained that if young gang members do not change their ways, they risk very serious consequences."
Claire Clark, Chief Inspector Gangs and Crime Ops for Islington Police, said: "The call-in took a more holistic approach to support the young people and their families which has not been tried before.
"It was hard-hitting and clearly informed the young people that they had a choice, and that if they chose not to change their behaviour or take the opportunities that were being offered, then they would see the consequences of that choice.
"A great deal of work went into the event and on the night it was a positive outcome. We will see the impact over the next six months."
The gang call-in took place on April 25 and those who attended are now being offered follow-up support.
Young gang members or parents wanting help with getting away from gangs can call 020 7527 2000 and ask to speak to the community safety team.
For more on community safety in Islington please see www.islington.gov.uk/communitysafety