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Former gangster will talk to teens in Swale to help tackle knife crime

By Chloe Holmwood

Police are inviting youngsters to a free talk by a former gang member about knife crime.

The session is part of a ‘Your Choice’ series hosted by the force to help protect and educate young people in the borough.

The first talk was on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and the importance of getting help for a mental health crisis.

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The second had a guest speaker talking about his past issues with street gangs and drug abuse.

A third is planned for Monday and will discuss how interactions with the police work.

A role of scenarios will be played out, such as what happens when you are arrested and how your actions can shape events.

This will be followed by a talk about gangs and knife crime on Monday, May 27.

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Insp Richard Bushell, from Kent Police’s Swale community safety unit, said: “The presentation, which will be given by a former London gang member, will challenge the notion that carrying a knife gives you extra protection.

“Through his teachings, attendees will learn they are more likely to become a victim if they carry a weapon or take part in organised gang activity.

“It has not been arranged in response to a specific issue in Swale, which remains a safe place, but is one of many examples of partnership work Kent Police undertakes across the county to protect and educate young people.”

"The presentation, which will be given by a former London gang member - Insp Bushell

He added: “Since the conclusion of the national Op Sceptre knife awareness campaign in March, Kent Police has continued its crackdown on knife crime and the culture around it.

“While enforcement such as early morning warrants and proactive patrols carry on, education is also a key part of guiding young people away from carrying weapons and making the right life choices.

“To achieve this our unit, alongside Kent County Council’s youth services department, has organised the ‘Your Choice’ series of talks.”

The talks, targeted at children aged 11 to 18, are held at New House in Chalkwell Road, Sittingbourne, usually at 5pm.

Attendance must be pre-booked and anyone interested in attending should register by emailing csu.swale@kent.pnn.police.uk.

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

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