North West London school students unveil poster campaign to stop knife crime

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To combat knife crime, Year 10 students from a North West London school have worked with a creative agency to create an anti-knife-crime poster campaign.

As part of a careers week, 30 Year 10 students from Brent’s Ark Academy, with help from creative agency Zeno London, created eight posters using generative AI. The campaign was presented alongside a panel discussion involving students and speakers from charities including Justice for Litigants in Person. 

Ark Academy’s Vice Principal Stephen O’Carroll said: “Our young people’s voice was heard, their work was shared, all of their thinking and the voices behind that was given a public forum. These guys, who are on the streets and on the roads in and around Brent, it’s important that we hear what they have to say.”

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During the panel, the students discussed their intentions behind designing the posters, and the root causes of knife crime. They explored how creating supportive communities in schools could help young people stay safe and avoid violent or criminal lifestyles.

Maryam Albatat, a student at Ark Academy, said: “I’m a strong believer in ‘you are who you surround yourself with’. So having a good circle of friends, being in a safe and good environment for you, can really contribute to how someone might live their life.”

Mr O’Carroll also discussed his feeling that there were fewer opportunities for young people compared to when he was a youth.

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He said: “Where’s the funding for the activities to occupy them with productive activities, with their hobbies and their interests, to stop them just wandering the streets? That doesn’t happen overnight, that needs strategic thought, it needs funding.”

To combat knife crime, Year 10 students from a North West London school have worked with a creative agency to create an anti-knife-crime poster campaign.To combat knife crime, Year 10 students from a North West London school have worked with a creative agency to create an anti-knife-crime poster campaign.
To combat knife crime, Year 10 students from a North West London school have worked with a creative agency to create an anti-knife-crime poster campaign. | Supplied

Ark Academy student Ismaeil Alloush added: “For the parents, I’d say if you don’t want your children getting involved with this type of thing, sign them up for activities after school.”

Also in attendance were representatives of the Metropolitan Police, and Brent and Harrow’s London Assembly Member Krupesh Hirani. Hirani said: “I’m really inspired by today’s event. It comes from young people themselves.

“What better to take messages to other young people about an issue than something that has been created by young people themselves?”

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He said London is tackling causes of crime by investing in preventative services like violence reduction units, or VRUs.

VRUs coordinate between health boards, police, and schools to tackle youth violence and crime.

He added that more needs to be done to protect young people online and to discourage online hate. This would not only encompass knife crime, but also violence against women and girls, and hate crimes such as homophobia and Islamophobia.

Hirani furthermore encouraged people to view young people more positively. He said: “They’ve proven today that they are the future leaders of tomorrow.”

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