This blog is all that remains from the former website which was closed after 8 years of providing a 'wiki' of urban street gangs in London.

An unfinished history of modern urban street gangs in London has been used to replace some of the content of the original site, beginning here

Friday, 5 October 2012

Teacher wants to help reduce knife crimes

Tottenham Journal
Teacher wants to help reduce knife crimes
by Flora Drury
Friday, October 5, 2012

Boxing academy teacher Tom Ogg knows more than most the price paid by those left to pick up the pieces of knife crime – in July, former pupil Kemar Duhaney was stabbed to death in the street in Hackney.

Tom Ogg wrote Boxing Clever about his experiences.

Mr Ogg had had high hopes for Kemar; indeed, he had been the main character in the book he was writing about his experiences at Tottenham’s London Boxing Academy Community Project entitled Boxing Clever – a book he hopes will help other teachers and youth workers.

“Kemar was a young person who came through the system – all the staff felt he was very special.

“Although he had been involved in negative things on the street and in school, it was clear he did not want to be part of that anymore.”

Mr Ogg has since had to add a post-script for Kemar, who lived in Bruce Grove.

“Kemar was a victim of the tendency of young people to turn to knives to resolve their disputes. He was a victim, as are all the young people who die or are injured through knife crime.”

The most recent figures released by the Metropolitan Police suggest there is more than one knife crime offence committed every day in Haringey but this, Mr Ogg believes, is just the tip of the iceberg.

“What you need to look at is hospital admissions. Most people who are stabbed won’t report it to police. The hospital admission statistics tell the real story.”

But what to do about it? Mr Ogg is clear: more positive educational experiences – as Kemar had – and a more robust approach to young people caught offending.

“Only 22 per cent of people found with a knife without good reason will receive a custodial sentence – that is a one in five chance.

“Is that a strong enough disincentive for young people not to carry a knife? Especially given how low the chance of being caught in the first place is.

“I think it is wrong to treat young people more leniently than adults because young people find it more difficult to understand the consequences of their actions.”

- Boxing Clever is published by Civitas: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society, priced at £9.50.

Donate to Kemar’s funeral fund by visiting

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