Gang culture is in focus as part of schools initiative in Uttlesford

PUBLISHED: 17:05 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 27 July 2018

Some of the partners involved in delivering the Crucial Crew programme. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Some of the partners involved in delivering the Crucial Crew programme. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

Almost 900 school children from Uttlesford were warned about gang culture and taught how gangs recruited new members as part of a long-running educational initiative.

The Year 6 pupils from 30 schools were given lessons about their personal well-being, led by the Crucial Crew programme, which is now in its 23rd year and helps pupils with the transition from primary to secondary school.

For the first time the programme, which was held across five days in June and organised by Uttlesford Community Safety Partnership, included workshops led by Gangline, a helpline and prevention service which delivers workshops on gang culture.

Gangline’s workshop raised awareness of the realities of the recruitment of young gang members, targeting and befriending and the false perception of a glamorous lifestyle.

Fiona Gardiner, Uttlesford District Council’s communities manager, said: “We are aware from working with our police partners in the community safety partnership (CSP) that gangs are filtering out from London into bordering counties including

Essex. Gangs do not take any notice of borders.

“Although this is not a problem in Uttlesford at this moment in time, without the CSP offering preventative work it could well be.

“We wanted to do preventative work and make young people aware of how grooming occurs. We felt that the more knowledgeable we could make our young people the better.”

As well as learning about gangs, the 10 and 11-year-olds worked through a range of

scenarios provided by Essex Police, British Transport Police, Essex County Fire & Rescue Service, Essex County Council’s road safety team, Uttlesford District Council, and the first responders.

Delivered through workshops, demonstrations and presentations, the sessions covered a wide range of issues such as theft and shoplifting, drugs and alcohol awareness, road and railway safety, fire safety and first aid.

Ms Gardiner said: “We want our young people to feel ready for the challenges that they will start to face, and the aim of Crucial Crew is to highlight serious and topical messages about safety in an interactive and engaging way.

“I would like to thank our partners and volunteers.”

The sessions were held at St Mark’s College, Audley End. For more information about the work of the Uttlesford Community Safety Partnership, visit www.uttlesford.gov.uk/csp.

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