Friday, 20 May 2011

Knife Crime Meeting a resounding success!

Over 40 people attended a packed "Redbridge Against Knife Crime" event last night at the training hall belonging to A.A. Security on Green Lane.

Wilson Chowdhry (East Ilford Business Partnership), Parvin Mahmood, Vincent John (Newham Community & Police Forum) and Simon James (Redbridge Asbo Team)

The gathering started small but grew to the capacity for our hall.

Parvin Mahmood's emotional presentation brought many to tears she has been a great advocate for peace in Redbridge.
The meeting ended up with at least 40 members of the local community.

People From Seven Kings, Mayfield Ward and Clementswood Ward came to vent their frustrations at the societal breakdown that has become evident in our local area, best illustrated by the recent attack on 5 innocent victims on Green Lane and associated roads.

The meeting was opened by Wilson the Chairman of the East Ilford Business Partnership, who described the incidents surrounding victims such as Charlotte Polious, Kashif Mahmood, Jack Large, Aleeza Murza, Sukhwider Singh and the recent knife frenzy on Green Lane. Many residents already knew about these high profile local crime incidents, but reflected on the number of knife attacks that do not become widespread knowledge as a consequence of the lack of a fatality.  They expressed concern that knife attacks only achieve publicity through the loss of a life.  There was a strong clamour for stiffer penalties for perpetrators of violent crime and the need for more policing powers.

The next speaker was Simon James from the Redbridge ASBO Team, he described the service provided by the team and provided free information booklets.  Visitors were much enthused by the services provided by this council department and indicated a prior lack of knowledge.  They all wrote down the telephone number for the out of hours ASBO Service.

Vincent John from Newham Community and Police Forum called for a strengthening of the family unit and for action to be taken against parents who allowed their children to fail the system.  He talked of the need for communities to work on better community cohesion and good community citizenship, asking members if they were associated to any local groups that would enhance either their local or cultural identity.  Many local people expressed a lack of attendance that was a consequence of a lack of knowledge of what services were available.  Wilson Chowdhry pointed the audience to the information that was available free via the Redbridge I website, that listed local council services and community groups.  Moreover he reminded people that at the beginning of the tax year with our Council tax bills we are provided with a Council written booklet termed the Directory of services.  Simon James reiterated the need to use the website as a resource for local facilities and re-signposted the facility.  Vincent spoke of the need to work with local police team by forming Neighbourhood watches, Joining Ward panels or attending the Redbridge Police and Community Engagement Panel.  Wilson agreed to provide specific details on all the above

Parvin Mahmood spoke of the hurt and pain caused to her family when her son Kashif Mahmood was fatally stabbed in September 2005.  Parvin described how her family struggled to see justice done in the face of insults and provocation and how the pain of losing her eldest son had never gone away.  Parvin had given her son £75.00 to but some items he had desired for some time and her lasting memory is of the joy he felt, and how that joy resonated through her.  Kashif was not able to spend that gift.  A visitor questioned Parvin on whether the family of the murderer showed any concern or remorse towards the family.  The audience were shocked and disturbed to hear how the mother and sister of the accused laughed at Parvin and her family at the court, she felt that this was due to them being in denial of the true nature of the crime and the murderers intent and malice.  Parvin was asked if she spoke in local schools and colleges and she informed visitors of here commitment to do that that had reduced in recent years due to the tender age of her youngest son (4).  Wilson spoke of the Parvin's commitment to speak at school trips to the Redbridge Peace Monument to be installed at the Winston Way Roundabout (location of Kashif's demise), on September 24th 2011.  Finally, Wilson also described the full day Peace week event to be held in Ilford Town Centre on the same day promoting community cohesion.  The event will be in conjunction with statutory services and anti-knife crime groups and Wilson encouraged people to inform young people to attend this event and Redbridge Carnival on the 11th and 12th September.

Discussion that arose in the meeting focused on a need to work with all young people in the borough to bring about the change in society which we wish to see.

Residents wanted it to be known that is was only a small percentage of young people that were tarnishing the reputation of young people in the borough.  A call to avoid labelling young people in general as potential thugs.

People wanted to know more about Redbridge Youth Services and the Youth offenders team and asked if a follow up meeting could be arranged with them in attendance.

A knife crime deposit box exists in Seven Kings and it was suggested more of these be installed through the borough.  Some statistics and data on the productivity of such projects and Operation Blunt by the Met Police were called for.

In closing Wilson suggested that attendees should for a new group opposed to knife crime and that we should hold monthly meetings.  Wilson suggested that the group invite local secondary school head teachers to attend and that they encourage pupils to attend so that we could create a direct conduit between the main victims and the Police. Visitors unanimously supported the idea and agreed to help with the distribution of flyers, make contact with local schools and to locate halls in the local area for meetings that will move from ward to ward in an attempt to be inclusive.  Local SNT's will be invited to attend these meetings to work with the community in restoring perceptions of safety and quality of life.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 23rd June from 19:00 - 21:00 a venue is still to be decided - the meeting will be in Seven Kings!  If you have a hall or could obtain use of a free hall please advise...

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