Half term camp with West Midlands Police: October 2019 In October 2019
Updated: Feb 24
In October 2019 we worked with West Midlands Police to engage young people aged 13+ during the October half term. Reports and statistics highlighted that during this time of the year anti social behaviour, theft and violent crime would increase and quite frequently it would be young people who don’t have much else to do. Another reason that this project was needed is due to Bonfire night falling in this period and to highlight to out young people the dangers and legality around who can and cannot handle or be in the possession of fireworks. Our project was to offer them an alternative. Speaking to local young people we planned a project where they could engage in sports activity whilst also taking part in workshops such as knife crime awareness, Q&A’s with police officers to help change perceptions and build positive relations, self defence classes and some guest speakers to motivate and support the young people plan what they need to do to get into their dream job so they can plan ahead. Alongside the physical and educational activities, young people were provided with a lunch from a local restaurant of their choice.The project was completely free and titled ‘CrimeSport & Education’
During the camp we had some very in-depth, tense and serious conversations. We had the precious life campaign in which we spoke about how each life was important and that we should ‘Say NO! to knife crime’. This workshop was an eye-opener as it allowed our young people to understand the repercussions of their actions and how each consequence could lead to a life changing incident. They were also made aware that even being present at a scene where someone has committed a knife crime, they could also be guilty and face a criminal sentence. We also had a mother come in and speak about how she lost her son to knife-crime and how even till this day it affects her. In addition to this, we had a self-defence workshop where young pupils were then taught what to do if they were in a knife crime situation and how they could handle it. Having actual police officers on duty attend our camp was another amazing opportunity for our young people as it allowed both parties to talk about perceptions and stereo-typical ideologies the community and police force seem to have. At the start of the Q&A with the police officers most of our young people didn’t want to take part or interact with the officers, but by the end of it they found a lot of similarities and were seen laughing and joking. One particular individual really grew during this project and has since pursued a career in becoming a police officer. His name is Israr Mohammed.
Israr had been attended and volunteering at Street Futures sessions on a regular basis. He was intrigued and curious about the police force in general and asked a lot of questions about their enrolment process and if they had any apprenticeships or internships going on. Following the conversations, he continues to this day supporting and volunteering at Street Futures and has gone on to become a police officer. Reflecting on that camp and working with Street Futures, he said “ Thank you to Street Futures for helping me at the time with an amazing opportunity to quiz and question current police officers to pursue my dream career”. The project was concluded by an adventure trip to ‘GO Ape Outdoors’ where our young people enjoyed climbing and zip wiring.