Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ANTI-GANG LESSONS FOR PUPILS AGED 9; ?SURGEONS WILL GO INTO SCHOOLS TO GIVE SHOCK CLASSES LONDON CAMPAIGN TO STOP CHILDREN TURNING TO CRIME Police to Shock with 'Death Messages

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ANTI-GANG LESSONS FOR PUPILS AGED 9; ?SURGEONS WILL GO INTO SCHOOLS TO GIVE SHOCK CLASSES LONDON CAMPAIGN TO STOP CHILDREN TURNING TO CRIME Police to Shock with 'Death Messages

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Davenport Crime Editor

CHILDREN as young as nine will get shock lessons in the horrific consequences of knife crime in a new campaign to combat London gang culture.

Surgeons and police officers are being sent into schools to give "anti-gang" classes after the riots of three weeks ago raised new fears about child gangsters.

Pupils will be told about police delivering "death messages" to bereaved parents and about the possibility of being left disabled for life by a knife wound.

The American-inspired project is the only one of its kind in Britain and comes after evidence that children played a key part in some of the disorder.

Figures reveal more than one in five of the riot suspects held so far is under 17. A total of 452 juveniles have been seized in an overall total of 2,108 arrests.

Today the founder of the pioneering scheme, Nick Mason, said: "Surgeons talk about the consequences of knife violence, about treating children as young as 12 with knife wounds, about what it is like to wear a colostomy bag or about delivering death messages to a mum and dad.

"We are trying to expose the myths of belonging to gangs Police to shock with 'death messages' FIGHTING THE GANGS Evening Standard Investigation as well as trying to give young people positive alternatives to gang membership."

So far the scheme, called Growing Against Gangs and Violence, has been running as a pilot in 55 schools in five London boroughs.

Now it is to be extended to 280 schools in up to 15 London boroughs.

A key element of the sessions involves London trauma surgeons giving talks in person or on film of their experiences of treating victims of knife crime.

Riot squad officers in the front line of London's gang war also tell children about the realities of tackling criminals.

The project, funded by the Met and local authorities, is aimed at catching children before they reach secondary school age when they can become vulnerable to recruitment by gangs. …

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