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Neville Lawrence to head community anti-knife crime project

NEW INITIATIVE: Dr Neville Lawrence

DR NEVILLE Lawrence, father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, is to head a new organisation aimed at tackling knife crime in the capital.

In June this year, the campaigner established an independent group of community Ambassadors from across London to develop a strategy at preventing the rise of knife crime and the impact it has on the BAME community.

Now, the Ambassadors are now part of a 13 strong team called the Knife and Violent Crime Prevention Group (KVCPG).

The organisation is supported by leading activist and educator Dr Angela Herbert MBE, who is the group’s vice chair.

Among the other high profile members of KVCPG is Courtney Brown, CEO of Father2Father.

PARTNERSHIPS

His role will be to report on positive partnerships between schools, the local authority and other community organisations and the resulting impact of initiatives that engage young people in academic and creative activities in a bid to stop them getting involved in knife crime.

KVCPG ambassadors will also aim to give a voice to individuals affected by knife crime, aiming to be an intermediary between the community, the police and relevant services.

It will also celebrate and highlight achievements of individuals and organisations within the community, encourage, replicate and promote good practice through local radio, media, communities and faith groups.

JUSTICE


FIGHT FOR JUSTICE: Stephen Lawrence

Lawrence told The Voice: "I am committed to this cause and will continue to work with my colleagues on the KVCPG, the local community, local authority, schools and police to save our young people. The solution is faith and community cohesion".

Herbert, vice chair of the KVCPG agreed with Lawrence that working at local level could provide important solutions to a pressing national issue.

CHANGE

She said: “Local change is possible while recognising that there are higher level issues that need to be tackled. School exclusions do not only make young people vulnerable to criminality but create trauma, rejection and hopelessness. Without qualifications, it is likely that young people will be workless and more likely to become victims as well as assailants or murdered as a result of knife crime.

Herbert added: “We will identify and promote local organisations that are making a difference in their community. The community has a huge role to play and we will be on the ground identifying some of the issues but will equally celebrate successes. It takes a village to raise our children. Families, the church, faith based communities , schools, elders and businesses…..we are the village, we must make a difference. "

Lawrence, the father of the late Stephen Lawrence who was murdered by racist thugs in April 1993, has spent every year since, fighting for justice for his son.

In January 2012 Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty by an Old Bailey jury after a trial based on forensic evidence.

SOLUTIONS: Neville Lawrence with Dr Angela Herbert

Police originally identified five men who were later named in a damning public inquiry as the "prime suspects".

However a catalogue of police errors and two failed prosecutions, one brought by Stephen's parents. Meant that three of the suspects have not faced trial or conviction for Stephen’s murder.

Stephen’s legacy lives on in his parents and in the impact of the Macpherson report which coined the term 'institutional racism'.

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