Ex-gang member educates Telford kids about knife crime

By Nick Humphreys | Telford | News | Published:

A former gang member has been into a Telford school to warn of the dangers of knife crime.

Former gang member Ben Butler, front third right, visited Telford Priory School to educate youngsters about knife crime

Ben Butler visited Telford Priory School in Wrockwardine Wood to talk to year seven, eight and nine pupils about how he turned his life around after being involved in knife crime as a young boy.

There were also workshops to give students the opportunity to raise their concerns, discuss what they know about knife crime and how they feel it can best be addressed as well as the impact of knife crime on victims and families, emergency services and the general public, and the person who commits the offence.

The workshops were followed by a question and answer session, which led to many questions from students who wanted to know how the police are tackling knife crime. Students also sought further knowledge on the role of a police officer and how the police help young people more widely.

The visit was part of the Steer Clear Programme, an intelligence led project aimed at young people under the age of 18 years are believed to be on the periphery of knife related crime.

The programme aims are to safeguard and prevent the criminalisation of young people involved.

Maria Williams from Steer Clear said: "When Ben was up there speaking you could hear a pin drop. I asked the children what was the most valuable part of it and they said listening to Ben. When you've got someone who's been there, done it and got the scars to prove it, young people are going to listen."

The team will be returning to the school to carry out a further workshop with year 10; there has already been a significant interest shown from other schools in the area and the team are looking forward to working with the young people of Telford through their intervention programme.

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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