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Kingston College Student Support Services are addressing issues around the rising knife crime figures impacting communities in London and the UK.

Working in partnership with the College is community-based charity Oxygen whose aim is to educate, equip and empower students to reduce knife crime.

Kingston Borough has seen a 71% increase in incidences in the Kingston area over the past year, according to Home Office statistics.

The awareness week, which is part of a national week of action, included workshops, conferences and speakers from a broad range of organisations:

  • Specialist evidence-based workshops run by Growing Against Violence (GAV) on the causes behind the rise in knife crime incidences, gang involvement, county lines and the impact serious youth violence can have on mental health.
  • Community Question Time facilitated a discussion on the rise in knife crime in the borough, and provided students with an opportunity to engage in this debate. Panel Members representatives from Kingston Race and Equalities CouncilFearless, Sophie Kafeero, the mother of a knife crime victim, Kingston Local Safeguarding Children’s BoardOxygen, the Police and Local Councillor Munir Ravalia.
  • A group of volunteer medical students from StreetDoctors taught students how to liaise with emergency services effectively and deliver immediate first aid to victims.
  • Ex-Offender Marvin Hebert discussed his experiences of knife crime, his time in prison and the transformation from being an offender to a motivational speaker.
  • Oxygen organised a fascinating mock court scenario where students explored justice, the definition of joint enterprise and no snitch culture.

One of the Community Question Time panel members was BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering student, Jhemar Jonas, who lost his brother to knife crime 2 years ago. Jhemar has featured on the BBC documentary ‘Knife Wars’. Jhemar commented:

“I became involved this week as I’ve seen a lot and have personal experience when it comes to knife crime and can’t bear to see this happening in our surroundings. I really hope that the week has allowed young people to look into themselves and find a way to be more civil to one another.”

Group Principal and CEO of South Thames Colleges Group, Peter Mayhew-Smith commented:

“The South Thames Colleges Group is passionate in its commitment to wipe out knife crime and remove this terrible threat that hangs over many of our young students. We know how much harm it does to the victims, their families and their communities. We know that the solution lies in partnership and we will work tirelessly with other agencies, families and young people themselves to bring this scourge to an end. This is why we’re hosting multiple events this week: to raise awareness, strengthen our partnerships and involve our students in the solution.”

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