Neighbourhood policing teams (NPT) need to train, recruit and give policing powers to reformed gang members, rappers, community leaders, school teachers and activists who are knowledgeable in the community and know its residence, argues activist Daniel Ogoloma.

When will Sadiq Khan realise that violent young men and women are not afraid of being stabbed to death or of going to prison for dozens of years? Investing in Dave and Stormzy will only be beneficial to the community, if they become neighbourhood police officers. 

Street crime has risen in the midst of this knife crime epidemic. In the last four years robbery is up 73%, theft from the person up 56%, homicide up 34% and knife crime up 41% – and the list goes on. This country needs a drastic change. Youngsters are fully aware that committing murder or GBH can land you a heavy prison sentence. Gone are the days of scaring a young man with 20 years in prison or 6 months behind bars for possession of a knife.

Prison has lost its fear factor in the UK, most young men I work with are excited to spend a few years in HMP Wandsworth or HMP Feltham because all their mates are there anyway so it becomes home away from home. Police have also lost the trust of youngsters who see them as meer mannequins in uniform and don't mind carrying out attacks minutes from police stations or in broad-daylight if they have to. I think I have an idea.  

'New Generation Police Teams' 

Neighbourhood policing teams (NPT) need to train, recruit and give policing powers to reformed gang members, rappers, community leaders, school teachers and activists who are knowledgeable in the community and know its residence. Community leaders and volunteers who are willing to go above and beyond to make the community more unified with real passion now not just because it's their day job. Imagine officers who are so integrated within the community they become part of families, they can call parents, teenagers and teachers when they feel a child's been behaving strangely; maybe this child's been missing for a few days or has been skipping school, officers can call that child or visit them to find out if they've been recruited for county lines. Or a mother with a son she overheard arguing about a so-called violation he received from another lad a school, she could pass her concerns on and get the NPT to intervene and proffer solutions to violence. Most knife attacks are pre-planned, we must stop them before they cause harm. 

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I spoke with Mr Doughan about how the police could have prevented his brother Fico's death to knife crime six years ago. He said "The met has failed in building trust amongst young disenfranchised youths committing these crimes, as a young kid in year 4 your told that the police are your friends and they'll protect you from the bad guys. The police took power and responsibility from community leaders and parents to protect their kids but fail to do so, they must now give those powers back to them but legally now".  

Other families affected by knife crime feel that gang leaders have used this lack of trust to create a narrative that the police can't be trusted creating an 'us against them' mentality, resulting in youngsters taking matters into their own hands instead of reporting crimes and concerns. Parents urge the government to come up with ways to keep youngsters inspired.

'Entrepreneurship and Business GCSE's'

Young people in London contribute to millions of pounds made yearly from drug trades and county lines. The number of children arrested for selling drugs outside their home area almost doubled between 2015-16 and 2017-18 (Children Society). 

Can the government introduce business and entrepreneurship as a GCSE in more schools to teach them how to make money legitimately from an early age? The mindset that young people are not capable to achieve and understand topics that society has told us only adults can understand should be rigorously discouraged and denounced because they are highly skilled. Experts suggest that younger brains can learn things more easily, but older brains can store information more proficiently. Therefore, it can be argued that young people will absorb whatever is being taught to them with ease at a younger age rather than when they are an adult. Youngsters already have an aptitude for making money and doing business even if it is being done illegally and consequently a new curriculum needs to be in place to teach these young people things such as investments, money management, aspects of finance in business or trading. If the education system can educate our young people on how to make money legitimately from a younger age and to train them up and learn how to transfer drug dealing and bookkeeping skills effectively this will reduce crime rates. 

The saying that "Now you have entered into the real world" after going through education is a testament that something is drastically wrong in the education system.

Young people need reformed gang members, rappers and local heroes and those with similar experience to be the new neighbourhood police. Men and women who were once influential in that world. Young people would only yield to the mentorship because of the journey and success of their mentor. Can they see themselves in the life of their neighbourhood police now? I don't think so.

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