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

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Mothers tackle gang culture

This Is Local London
By Dal Babu »

We started the week off with the Mothers Against Gangs (MAG) community football event at Harrow School. This event saw young people from across Harrow's schools come together to play in a football tournamant which was attended by the Chair of the Football Association David Bernstein, The Headmaster of Harrow Boys School Jim Hawkins, Sky News Presenter Gillian Joseph, international referee David Ellery, Kevin Coleman from 'Kick It Out' and ex Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion footballer Brendon Batson.

L to R Veloria Williams, Hana Ali, Barbara Miller, Gillian Joseph and Vanessa Booth

The tournament was an enormous success and played in good spirit, even when the participants were told that the teams would be mixed up so that they would be playing alongside boys from other schools against their classmates. Afterwards, each player was presented with a goody bag from the FA organised by Funke Awoderu and Panna Vekaria from Vascroft Building Company and were given complimentary match tickets from Barnet FC. I was particularly impressed with Barbara Miller, the current chair of Mothers Against Gangs who spoke on the day and encouraged the boys to tell their mothers about the newly-formed group and the work that they do within the community. I am determined to build on the success of Mothers Against Gangs which has seen joint visits from police, the local authority and MAG to the homes of children involved in anti-social behaviour and criminality, resulting in a reduction of crime.

I am pleased to say that two new PCSOs joined the borough this week. Danielle Kentsley will be working on Roxbourne SNT and Anda Ben-Chaim will be joining Hatch End SNT. I met Danielle who has recently come back from a trip of lifetime to Thailand and is getting stuck into being a PCSO. Over the next few weeks they will both be familiarising themselves with their new roles within the police family which inevitably means working evenings and weekends.

Officers of the week are PCSOs Elaine Charalambous and Wesley Best from Wealdstone Safer Neighbourhoods Team. Their Sergeant Paul Mills is extremely impressed with the professionalism and dedication they showed to the victims of a recent burglary in Wealdstone ensuring they were fully informed and kept updated with the progress of the investigation. The officers also bought the victims a tin of chocolates before visiting them, demonstrating that victim care is at the forefront of their minds.

Burglary continues to be Harrow's priority and we have made some key arrests this week however, we continue to ask you to follow our basic crime prevention message:

PCSOs Wesley Best and Elaine Charalambous

Leave a low-energy bulb on when you leave your home unoccupied.
Leave a radio on when you are out.
Ensure all doors and windows are locked and secured.
Officers and PCSOs are visiting homes this week reminding all householders of these simple message to ensure they stay safe.

If you are the owner of a Smart car please be aware that we have had several reports this week of wheels being stolen from these cars. We encourage you to park in a well-lit area and report any suspicious activity immediately to police.

Some of you may have noticed that several police officers in Harrow have embraced Movember. We decided that we wanted to raise money and awareness for men's health. Over 50 officers and staff have grown moustaches this November is support of this extremely worthy cause.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Mentor shows young gangsters the City to stop postcode wars

Evening Standard

Mediator: Twilight Bey takes on gangs (Picture: Jeremy Selwyn)

Justin Davenport

27 November 2012

Young street gang members in London are being given tours around the City in an effort to divert them from a life of crime.

Youth workers say they are trying to provide teenagers with ideas for alternative ways of earning money other than stealing or drug dealing. The gangsters are shown the major finance houses and Bank of England.

Community workers say many are too frightened to travel across London because of fears of “postcode” violence and attack from rival gangs.

Twilight Bey, a youth engagement manager for the Pathways to Progress scheme, said: “Some young people say they have never been out of their estates because of the perceived threat from rival groups. Often it is just fear, but that fear paralyses young people’s lives and prevents them from taking opportunities.”

Mr Bey, 42, who works with teenagers on the Stonebridge estate in a Brent council-funded scheme, said some young people refused to attend job or school interviews because it meant travelling through rival territory.

The youth worker, who once brokered peace talks between the infamous LA gangs the Bloods and the Cripps, is now trying to bring rival gangs together in north-west London.

He said many young people copied the lifestyles of more senior gang members or drug dealers.

He said: “We are trying to offer an alternative view, to broaden their view and the scope of their lives.

“One of the key things is for them to try and understand there are other ways to earn money. The racket they have chosen may be lucrative with high gains in the short term but the risks are also high.”

Mr Bey also teaches gang members about London’s history. He said: “We go to Fleet Street and talk about the importance of communication, to Greenwich and talk about time.

“We look at the history of the City and visit streets such as Milk Street and try and understand how things were traded so they can see alternative ways of making a living.

“The biggest thing out of all of this is to re-introduce young people to ‘process thinking’, that there is a process of getting a job and making a living — they are so used to things happening instantly, at the click of a finger. They are often totally blown away by it.”

Labour councillor for Stonebridge Zaffar van Kalwala, an investment banker, said: “I think young people who are at risk of joining gangs should be given opportunities to work in investment banks. They have the raw skills and hunger to achieve.

“As a community I think we are at a tipping point. Do we say we accept gangs or do we say we do something about it?”

Monday, 26 November 2012

Hundreds celebrate launch of new youth centre in Wembley

Max Walters

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tokyngton Youth Club will provide a social hub for the borough’s youngsters

Hundreds of delighted youngsters celebrated the opening of a new youth centre in Wembley this weekend.

Tokyngton Youth Club (TYC), officially launched on Saturday, (24) complete with dance and singing performances and motivational speeches from some of the borough’s talented residents.

TYC will provide both social and educational activities from its base in Planet Zero, a charitable organisation in Engineers Way, Wembley.

During the launch, on Saturday, November 24, talented youngsters including singers and dance troops performed for the crowds, while speeches were given by former Commonwealth Games Judo medallist, Lee Shinkin and resident brain box and Mastermind champion Shaun Wallace.

James DeGale, a Boxing gold medallist from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, who lives in Harlesden, was also present.

Cllr Krupa Sheth, who lives in the Tokyngton ward, has been helping to organise the opening of the club.

She said: “The launch of TYC was a great success. Despite the gloomy weather we had a packed room with happy faces and great entertainment on Saturday evening.

“Special thanks goes to all the stakeholders for making this night special.”

The idea for the youth club was conceived a year ago and the launch is a joint effort between Tokyngton Safer Neighbourhoods (SN) Team, Brent Council and the Tokyngton Youth Panel (TYP).

The TYP was formed following the riots which tore through the capital in August 2011 with the aim of giving young people a say in what they wanted in their community and they expressed an interest in having a youth centre.

Community organisations and businesses have also got involved including IKEA in Brent Park, who provided funding for the clubs furniture.

Samuel Lamptey, a Police Community Support Officer from Tokyngton SN Team said: “The launch of the TYC proves that the local SN Team is in the position of collaborating well with Brent Council, ward working, ward councillors, residents and local businesses to achieve great goals such as this event if we all pull together.”

Chadwell Heath singer Guvna B celebrates graduation

Sara Odeen-Isbister
Monday, November 26, 2012

MOBO award winning singer Guvna B has picked up a degree in business management after taking a break from music to focus on studying.

The Chadwell Heath singer, aka Isaac Borquaaye, celebrated the achievement at the University of Hertfordshire’s annual graduation ceremony last Tuesday.

Guvna B started studying at the university in 2007 but saw his marks drop after his music career started to take off in 2009.

He said: “It was a growing struggle for me to balance my university studies with my promising music career and my grades started to see the effects of this.

“While my music career was growing, my degree was in danger. I had a meeting with my course leader who advised me that with only one year left of my degree, it would fly by so quickly that if I concentrated and put the music on the back burner a little bit, I would succeed.”

Guvna B, who won Best Gospel Artist at the 2010 Mobos, followed his tutor’s advice and his hard work paid off.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Awards ceremony salutes young people’s achievements

Islington Tribune

Caric James, left, and Julious Joseph, who set up the Pro Excellence Sports Academy, winner of the Youth Project of the Year Award. Below, other winners

Published: 23 November, 2012

MORE than 150 guests watched some of Islington’s most inspirational youngsters pick up a host of awards for their achievements.

The Youth Achievement Awards ceremony, at the Assembly Hall earlier this month, saw 18-year-old Adam Rachid receive the Volunteer of the Year Award. Despite being a part-time carer for three younger siblings and a sick parent, he still found time to volunteer to work on a project designing and building a pond at Hilldrop Community Centre.

Adam is acting as a mentor to another young person at The Zone Youth Project and is pursuing a career as a comedian.

The Young Achiever of the Year Award went to 16-year-old Dene Figueira De Sousa.

Dene has contributed to many youth schemes across the borough, is an active member of The Zone Youth Project committee and is in the process of setting up a social enterprise scheme running a café.

Certificates were presented by Islington Council education chief Councillor Richard Watts and Town Hall chief executive Lesley Seary. Cllr Watts said: “Everyone who attended the awards felt inspired by the stories they heard.”

Entertainment came from music project Spectrum and singers and dancers from The Zone and Lift youth projects.

Other winners were: Sporting Individual Award: Pro Excellence Sports Academy, Caric James and Julious Joseph; Youth Project of the Year Award: Pro Excellence Sports Academy; Young Voice Award: Victoria Azubuike; Young Arts Award: Shantelle Peterking.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Campaign launched to end gender based violence

East London Lines
November 22, 2012 | Posted by: Heather Saul |

Amnesty International Pic: Javacolleen

A charity has launched a programme this month to protect young girls and women who are at a greater risk of sexual abuse.

The Safe Choices programme was introduced in Hackney and Islington on November 8 by Nia, a charity set up to prevent violence against women and children.

The programme aims to provide advice and support to girls and young women between the ages of 13 and 25 who may be exposed to gang culture, domestic violence or criminal activity.

The charity has been working to engage with women to provide specialist services, intensive one to one support sessions and group work.

Police have recorded 126 cases of rape, 239 other sexual offences and1,609 domestic violence crimes in Hackney over the last year.

Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive for Nia said: “Violence against women happens every day, and we provide a service that works to end gender based violence.

“Independent research tells us that women want specialist women-only services, and as long as women want and need us, we’re determined to be here for them.”

Dr Julia Long, head of operations for Safe Choices, said that Curtis Benson’s conviction last week “absolutely highlighted the need” for the newly launched campaign.

Benson was handed a six year custodial sentence on November 15 for raping a Hackney woman in her own home. Benson had told the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, that she was lucky he hadn’t turned up with five men.

Safe Choices programmes in Hackney and Islington will be funded by the Big Lottery Funds’ Reaching Communities programme.

Eastlondonlines are currently covering the White Ribbon campaign.

For more information, click here:

Friday, 16 November 2012

Newham College staff educated in gang life by ex-offender

Newham Recorder
Melissa York
Friday, November 16, 2012

Staff at Newham College received an education in the secretive world of youth gangs from a former member turned campaigner.

Sheldon Thomas was invited to the East Ham Campus on October 25 to give a presentation to faculty members about how to spot and stop students turning into gang members.

He said: “Teachers are not equipped to deal with it. They need to be trained up.”

Sheldon was a gang member in the 1970s but he broke away to form a faith-based organisation called Gangsline in 2009 - dedicated to eradicating the root causes of youth gangs in Newham and Barking & Dagenham.

Gangsline estimates there are about 350 gang members in Newham, four of which are thought to be leaders, whose main activities are selling drugs, guns, and engaging in violence.

Sheldon said: “In 1976, when I was a gang member, I had a certain what you could call moral ethics. I wouldn’t rape a girl or commit a crime on Sunday.

“Today, they don’t respect women, they shoot mothers and torture people. And it’s not true to say that a gang member will stop the violence if he has a job.”

The Home Office has given Gangsline a grant so teams can visit prisons, hospitals, schools, and work with youth offending teams and religious leaders in east London over the next 12 months.

NEW BLOG: Voice of The Hood

This is a relatively new blog, full of insight, humour, intelligence and reasoning, brought to us by @JamaineJones, see extracts from one of his articles below:

Music and so called Gang Crime in Battersea


“I’ve had enough panicking, I’m gunna turn to the dark side like Anakin, it’s been hard but I’m managing Dough’s [money] been hard [to get] so I’m managing”.

‘Unidentified Gang Member’

The quotation above was taken from the music of a Gang member and like most of their music, the lyrics exposes how their culture and beliefs contribute to their so called criminality. As argued previously, I strongly believe that the specific nature and culture within Battersea contributes to mentality that links to what the majority of society call 'Gang Mentality' and thus an analysis of Trap music should provide an insight into the culture which influences Gang members. This particular lyric reveals that a gang member is rejecting the socially acceptable means of attaining wealth (‘I’ve had enough panicking’) and is now using other illegal methods to attain wealth (‘turning to the dark side’). Upon deeper analysis of (T)rap music, it could be argued that, there is ‘strain[2]’ amongst Gang members due to their failure to attain wealth via legitimate methods and therefore Gang members have created a subculture, which celebrates criminal behaviour and creates illegal economic opportunities for members that legitimate Battersea failed to offer.

Continue reading at the Voice of the Hood


Students from Birmingham School of Acting (BSA), part of Birmingham City University, have launched a theatre and workshop programme exploring the impact of gangs on girls.
See via B.C.W Lindsay blog  

IF ONLY Official Teaser

Teenage murders do not provide a reliable indication of the extent of potentially fatal incidents in our capital. Many life threatening attacks, stabbings and shootings have not resulted in death, sometimes by luck, often by the speed, dedication and skills of the emergency services...

For more info see @CreatingRM C.R.I.M.E (Creating Role Models In Media Enterprise) takes troubled young people, gang members & ex-offenders and introduces them to the world TV and film.

Advice to a Daughter Trailer - Real Talk/Real Action

For more real talk, real action follow @RealActionUK on Twitter

New Book Review: Prisoner to the Street (from Emeka Egbuonu)

In the summer of 2011 I was on my way to Holly street with Janette Collins (project manager for The Crib) to deliver the Consequences and Trading places workshop to some of the young people in that area. As we were driving Janette stopped the car asked Robyn where he was going, we were all heading in the same direction. This was my first time meeting Robyn, Jan asked him what he was up to these days, and he mentioned he was writing a book. Jan said snap, and mentioned I was doing the same thing. On the short ride to Holly Street, Robyn gave me a small insight to what his book was about and the purpose behind it, from then on I was eager to read it when it was done.

Continue reading at Breaking the Negative Cycle blog

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Rival Gangs Historic Show Of Unity For Bishop Derek Webley Birmingham's ‘Burgers’ and ‘Johnson’ crews kept the peace during Police and Crime Commissioner election rally

The Voice @TheVoiceNews

Written by Poppy Brady
14/11/2012 11:29 AM

MOVING: Derek Webley speaks at his rally

RIVAL GANG members stood shoulder to shoulder on an altar in a Birmingham church to show their united support for Bishop Derek Webley – the man they want to vote in to become the West Midlands first elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Young people from the city’s ‘Burgers’ and ‘Johnson’ crews took the unprecedented step of standing together publicly in the New Testament Church of God, during an election rally attended by more than 1,000 people on Tuesday night [Nov 13].

It was Webley’s final push in a ‘bring out the vote’ rally in his Lozells church, just 48 hours before the country goes to the polls to elect a series of PCCs across the UK.

Clearly moved by the gangs’ show of unity as they stood behind him on the altar, Webley told the packed church: “Win or lose we have won. This is more than the election of a PCC – this is a spiritual journey which is finally uniting our community.

“The Johnsons and the Burgers standing together on this stage could be the start of a new chapter in the life of our community. People are uniting in the common purpose of humanity.”

During the talk he also revealed the many times he had worked behind the scenes when trouble arose in the community, such as the Handsworth disturbances of 2005, a death in custody, a difficulty for someone in prison, or a family’s grief over the loss of a loved one killed on the street.

SPEECH: Desmond Jaddoo

“How many other PCC candidates have held meetings for you to come to?” he added. “They don’t want to be tested. But I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. We love our young people – you may not always get it right but we will never walk by and leave you for another community to pick you up. We’re proud you belong to us.”

As the outgoing chair of West Midlands Police Authority, Webley said people had been tough on him about the issue of stop and search.

“People have said to me ‘what have you done about it?’ I’m not a police officer but I know what it’s like to be stopped and searched. It has a place in policing, but it is the way it is done and the way people are treated.”

Desmond Jaddoo, founder of the Birmingham Empowerment Forum and a leading figure in the national campaign to mobilise the black vote, gave a thundering speech, urging everyone to use their vote tomorrow (November 15).

“We want representation,” he said. “Don’t be the people passing through – no more under representation, no more disrespect, no more underlings. We need to stop complaining and work together in unity.”

Last month he launched the national black voting registration campaign in Birmingham with Simon Woolley, the director of Operation Black Vote.

Webley’s ‘bring out the vote’ rally had all the razzamatazz of an Obama campaign and even carried the sound bite: ‘Obama in the White House, now Webley in Lloyd House’ which is the name of West Midlands Police headquarters.”

One of the rally’s hosts ‘G-Man’ joked that Webley was possibly the first black man fighting to get in to Lloyd House.

While fellow hosts Nikki Tapper, of BBC radio WM and John Simmit, praised Webley for stepping up to the plate and underlined the importance of voting.

Entertainers who took part included Witness, Claire Angel, DJ Proclaima, Tenna Star, George Street Community Choir, D’Shy, Michael Wassifa Brown and Cie.

After the rally Jaddoo said: “The two rival gangs coming together like that was an historical moment for our community, but having talked to them they said they have been looking for role models and someone to lead them for a long time.”
Posted on: 14/11/2012 11:29 AM

Youngsters given a fighting chance

Newham Recorder
November 14, 2012 Wednesday
'You may expect a famous boxing gym tucked away under a gritty flyover to be filled with mean spirited fighters punching the lives out of each other.

But tucked away in a quiet side road, off the busy Silvertown Way, next to the old London docks, the family run Peacock Gym is nurturing the potential of youngsters escaping some of the country's most deprived and crime ridden nearby estates.

The gym in Caxton Street North, Canning Town, may be more famous for rearing professionals such as former boxers Frank Bruno, George and Billy Walker.

But as the gym's mentoring scheme, part of a broader educational programme for young people aged 14-19, is up for a number of awards the Recorder paid a visit to discover the secret behind their success.

The gym's academy, set up four years ago, offers a range of subjects including some that seem a far cry from boxing, from hair and beauty to cycle mechanics, along with a variety of sports including boxing.

Many of its 150 students combine secondary school with more vocational courses at the gym, while others leave mainstream school to study GCSE maths and English at the gym's academy.

Academy manager Glyn Barlow said: "It's not for everyone. But what we are good at is capturing young people on the periphery of gang activity.

"Sometimes it works getting them healthy, eating properly, channelling their energy and changing peer group through the academy rather than just the gym."

Among those who found a new direction in their lives after coming through the gym's door's are four young people, who have now become mentors trying to get others on the right path.

Three on them have secured paid apprenticeships after attending the gym's academy.

They continue their own studies while being paid £2.95 to £3.25 an hour for mentoring younger students. Another became a volunteer mentor after coming in off the street.

The scheme has been shortlisted for the Umbro Sport Project of the Year Award and the Guardian newspaper's small charity awards, along with the Action Against Antisocial Behaviour Award run by the Police Federation.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Award-winning Hackney director speaks about her film on gang culture, released today

Hackney Gazette
Syma Mohammed
Friday November 9 2012

Today (November 9) sees the release of My Brother The Devil, a film set in Hackney starring young people born and bred there.

It’s is a labour of love by Sally El Hosaini, who has lived in Hackney for the last 10 years.

Her film, which portrays the relationship between two brothers and depicts gang culture in Hackney, won an award for Best British Newcomer at the recent BFI London Film Festival. It also won Best European Film at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival.

It’s all the more impressive given the fact that this is Sally’s first feature length film.

I meet her in a cafe nestled among a parade of shops on a council estate, just minutes away from Gascoyne Estate in Wick Road, Homerton where the film was made.

The coffee shop is retro chic and one of the many signs of Hackney’s gentrification – just like the brand new block of flats being built opposite.

Although these worlds exist side-by-side, it is the world of the disenfranchised that Miss El Hosaini seeks to focus on in her urban drama.

It is a world of gangs, violence and drugs but also of family, love and hope. It is one of the many narratives of nameless teenage boys who make the headlines for gang wars and endless reprisals.

“They’re just kids”, she says. “You can stereotype the way youths (and Arabs) are portrayed in the media. But they do have hopes and dreams and are vulnerable. It’s no surprise that all the youth centres were closed in Tottenham the week before the riots broke out.”

The film took five years to make – largely due to lack of funding. She spent a lot of the time getting to know boys involved in gangs in Highbury, Brixton and Hackney.

She admits there were times when she was “hanging out on street corners at 4am” that she questioned why she gave up her job in the BBC’s drama department, but had no regrets after the riots broke out.

“When the riots erupted, I thought there was never going to be a better time to tell the story of Hackney youth”, she says. “It made me feel all the years I had struggled to raise money was worth it and what I was doing was important.”

She chose to make a film about two brothers because she wanted it to be about a sibling relationship.

“It’s a coming of age story and a love story between two brothers. It’s about having the courage to be different – to be yourself”, she says.

“It also looks at what do you do when your hero turns out to be human. There’s that point when you idolise someone and realise they are just people.”

The brothers are of Egyptian origin. As well as wanting to humanise gang members, Sally was also keen to humanise Arabs. “I’m interested in the underdog. I struggle to think of memorable Arab characters in Western cinema. That was my ambition, to have three-dimensional Arab characters and to make a non-terrorist film.”

Sally is half-Welsh and half-Egyptian, and lived in Cairo until she was 16. She studied Arabic language and Middle Eastern politics at Durham University, before going to work in TV and film.

When asked whether she feels there is growing diversity within British film, she is unsure.

“Sadly, I don’t feel so optimistic, especially with the cuts. It’s very hard to make an independent film. There does not seem to be the diversity of voices and stories.”

Although the film is low-budget, Sally obtained funding from private investors both here and in Egypt.

She confesses the fact that the film’s setting made it difficult. “People reacted negatively to it being set on a council estate”, she said. “They thought it was going to be dark and depressing.”

However, she was keen to show this was not the case. “I did not want to portray Hackney in a grim depressing way as Hackney is not like that.

“I know that there are trees, sunshine and children playing. When I go out for a walk on a nice sunny day I’m happy to live there.”

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Lewisham rapper proves you can make it big without X Factor or record labels

This is Local London
By Nikki Jarvis »

Most aspiring rap stars rely on record labels and managers to boost them up the ladder of fame.

Lewisham rapper proves you can make it big without X Factor or record labels

But one inspirational musician from Lewisham – who gave up a career in law to pursue his dream – is proving grit, determination and a little cash for train tickets are all you need.

ShaoDow, aka Elliott Haslam, has sold 10,000 CDs of his original tracks by travelling all over the UK and talking to people on the streets about music.

The 26-year-old, who also spent months in China learning Shaolin Kung Fu, hopes to send out the message that anything is possible with hard work.

He even calls his fans the DIY Gang.

“I always wanted to go to China and learn Shaolin Kung Fu, so when I was 18, I saved up some money and went in my gap year.” Elliott told Vibe.

“I believe in living life – if you have an ambition it’s better to try and do it rather than just thinking about it.

“I was always passionate about music but I thought it would be good to have a back-up plan.”

Elliott graduated with a 2:1 in law, but he loved making music too much not to try earning a living from it.

Now, his video Get Stronger has attracted nearly 110,000 views on YouTube and his album Cut the BullSpit reached number 25 in the iTunes hip-hop charts.

ShaoDow creates songs in a diverse range of genres including rock, house, grime and dubstep.

He added: “Normally, on Monday to Saturday I will just pick somewhere in the country, get on the train and just talk to people.

“I ask them what sort of music they listen to, explain about myself – I’m always very polite.

“I’m trying to sell them something they haven’t heard before.

“The furthest away I’ve been is Edinburgh.

“The further I get out of London, the more open people are to explore different music.”

Elliott, who attended Haberdasher's Askes' Hatcham College, has also started selling his own merchandise.

He added: “Fans have made a habit of coming to find me so they can buy the cap off my head.

“It happened five times in a row recently.

“It was really cold and my head was freezing but I’m never going to deny a fan something they want.”

Veering away from the gangster image of some rappers, Elliott’s album offers something for all music lovers.

“I’m a rap artist but I’m not doing the whole ‘I’m a gangster’ thing.” He said.

“I love the way words fit together and I started writing poetry first.

“Success for me is still a long way away.

“My goal from the start was to be a self sustaining artist, which ironically I am now, but I want to do it to a much bigger degree.”

Although Elliott now has a manager, he co-manages himself and does most of the legwork, having handed out 50,000 flyers over the last couple of years.

He said: “If you have drive and determination, you can make it happen – even without X Factor.”

ShaoDow is about to embark on a tour of Thailand, and will be supporting his favourite independent artist Tech N9ne tomorrow (November 8) at Islington’s O2 Academy.

Visit or follow him on Twitter @ShaoDowMusic

13th December Conference: How Gangs Operate in Colleges Location: London - Venue tbc

13 December 2012

09:30 - 16:00

Greater London

How Gangs Operate in Colleges
Location: London - Venue tbc

Are gangs and youth violence a concern in your College? Can you spot the signs of gang behaviour?
This one day workshop aims to address your concerns about gangs and serious youth violence and equip you with tools to help prevent problem groups in your College.

The AoC London region has produced a detailed checklist of possible interventions for Colleges to consider; this workshop will be based on the checklist as well as the experiences of a serving police officer who is involved in work with Colleges to reduce gang and serious youth violence. You will learn how to recognise gang activity, then explore the various interventions that are open to College practitioners.

Objectives of the day
  • To recognise and identify gangs and the individuals at risk of joining
  • To identify the signs and impact of gang activity and serious youth violence in a College and the wider community
  • To explore some of the options on the AoC checklist for working with partners and agencies to reduce gang and serious youth violence

What will I get out of it?
  • A clear understanding of gangs, the individuals at risk and the actual or potential impact on your College and the wider community
  • A copy of the AoC London College checklist of interventions in regard to Gangs and Serious Youth Violence
  • The opportunity to discuss the different approaches in the checklist and share information with other delegates to encourage further innovation
  • The award of a 'Skills for Security' certificate of attendance for CPD purposes

Who should attend?
  • Principals and CEO's
  • Vice Principals
  • Duty Management Team members
  • Policy Makers
  • Health and Safety staff
  • Heads of Security
For further information or to book online please visit:

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Don't Get Gassed (The Reality Of Knife Crime) - Real Talk/Real Action

See more via Craig Pinkney on Twitter (@RealActionUK)

Centre for Social Justice: Tackling gangs 1 year after riots and London "Gang Crime" data

The much publicised report on gangs from the Centre for Social Justice was published at the end of last month, with headlines focussing on the criticism that gang violence had increased since the August 2011 disturbances. (See full report here).

In stark contrast to the claims made about a surge in violence, information on knife and gun injuries sustained (which were reported to and recorded by police) show a significant decrease which began just before the riots (see image below, for full data download click here).

Furthermore, the London Ambulance Service have recorded declines in the number of patients visited/attended to with gun and knife injuries (click here for borough level data and click here for ward level data).

Whilst we know that under-reporting of violence is prevalent, there is certainly a downward trend where recorded data is concerned (from multiple sources), which contrasts the individual opinions of those interviewed as part of the Centre for Social Justice report. 

Caution should be exercised with both the data and the report, each harbours its own limitations and methodological errors.

London Safer Future Communities Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise Network Response to: London Crime Reduction Board Draft Partnership Anti- Gangs Strategy

London Safer Future Communities Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise Network Response to: 
London Crime Reduction Board  Draft Partnership Anti- Gangs Strategy

Click here 

Azelle Rodney's mother asks armed officer who shot dead her son: 'How many more lies?'

Evening Standard

Police forensics team searching outside The Railway Tavern at the scene where armed Police shot Azelle Rodney dead, Hale Lane, Edgware

06 November 2012

A mother whose 24-year-old son was gunned down by armed police interrupted the inquiry into his death to ask the officer who shot him: "How many more lies are you going to tell?"

Susan Alexander stormed out of the inquiry into Azelle Rodney's death after the dramatic outburst, that came as the officer recounted the day he killed her son.

Mr Rodney died when police stopped the car in which he was travelling in Edgware, north London in April 2005.

Officers believed he and the two other men in the VW Golf were part of an armed gang on their way to rob drug dealers.

Today the firearms expert who shot him told the inquiry he saw Mr Rodney looking left and right and ducking down in the back seat of the car.

The officer, who has been given anonymity and was identified only as E7, opened fire less than a second after pulling up beside the car.

He said: "His posture was of someone who was preparing to fire a weapon.

"I'm as convinced today as I was on the day that Azelle Rodney had a gun in his hands.

"It was nothing to do with the fact I couldn't see his hands, it was everything about his body language that he had picked up a firearm and was prepared to use it.

"It led me to believe I had no choice but to open fire."

E7 gave no verbal warning before opening fire, because he said there was not enough time.

"I wasn't alongside that vehicle long enough," he told the inquiry. "I couldn't have got the words out of my mouth quick enough. I just didn't think that it was practicable to give an oral warning."

Mr Rodney was shot six times, and the officer said he thought the rounds were having "no effect whatsoever".

He said: "These things happen very quickly. My impression was that my rounds had no effect on him whatsoever. This isn't like Hollywood - when people get shot when their adrenaline's up they don't even know they've been shot.

"I saw nothing that implied that he was no longer a threat to my colleagues."

E7 had to stop a number of times to compose himself as he gave his account.

It emerged earlier today that he had shot two other people dead during his career.

The hearing was told that during an incident in the 1980s E7 shot two men and injured another two.

Inquests into the men's deaths later found that they had been lawfully killed, and the officer received a commendation from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner for his conduct. The two injured men were later tried and jailed.

On the day that Mr Rodney was killed, E7 said he was concerned that the three men in the car might have a sub machine gun.

He said police feared that the gang had "a fairly compact weapon that could fire in excess of 1,000 rounds a minute, that's 18 rounds per second."

An inquiry is being held into Mr Rodney's death instead of an inquest because of secret information that would have to be withheld from a coroner.

Members of the press and public were banned from the court room - which is in a High Court building in the City of London - as the officer gave evidence, listening to audio feed from a separate room.

There were shouts of "liar" from observers in the annexe as E7 gave his account.

Protesters also stood outside the building accusing the police of being "murderers" and claiming there had been a "cover-up".

The inquiry continues.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Local youngsters take part in Guinness world record attempt at largest number of people to shoot basketball hoops in a single day

Islington Tribune

Getting ready to shoot some hoops in Highbury Fields

Published: 2 November, 2012

IT was on your marks, get set, shoot in Highbury Fields as young people attempted to break the Guinness world record for the largest number of people ever to shoot basketball hoops in one day.

Youth workers and volunteers gathered in the fields to take part in the YMCA worldwide attempt, which began at 8am in New Zealand on Saturday October 18, and finished in Hawaii at 5pm the following day.

Gillian Bowen, chief executive of City YMCA, said: “It was a great day and lovely to see so many children and families getting involved.”

The challenge was taken up by 58 YMCAs in England, and more than five million people took part across the world.

The Islington event was supported by local organisations including The London Lions professional basketball team, England Basketball, the sports national governing body, and Waitrose, Barbican.

More than £3,700 was donated on the day and the London Lions provided 300 free tickets for their upcoming games.

The results are currently being put together and an official verification will be sent to the Guinness Book of World Records in January.