Isle of Wight teens hear inspirational talk on knife crime by former gang member

Former Central London gang member, who lost three teenage friends to knife crime, spoke to teenagers across the Isle of Wight last week, highlighting the dangers of knife crime.

PCSO Steve Hull Omar Sharif PS Justin Pringle

The police share this latest news. Ed

Pride of Britain award winner speaks to teenagers on the Isle of Wight as part of national week of action against knife crime.

As part of Operation Sceptre – the national week of action against knife crime – officers from the Isle of Wight’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams have been speaking to teenagers and introducing them to a special guest.

Omar’s story
Omar Sharif, 27, is a Pride of Britain award winner and Ambassador for the Princes Trust. He grew up in central London and became involved in a gang when he was 14 years-old.

Three of his friends died as a consequence of knife crime and Omar moved to a different part of the city, despite pressure from gang members, to start again.

‘Omar Inspires
However, when the business he set up didn’t take off, he became homeless. Eventually, Omar decided it was time for bigger change and moved to Coventry.

The Princes Trust helped Omar to find work and gave him a new sense of direction. Omar has now successfully been self-employed for four years and has made such an impact running his most recent business ‘Omar Inspires’.

Experiences shared with Island teens
On Friday 15 March Omar joined officers from the Island’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams to speak about his experiences to more than 1,200 teenagers at: Ryde Academy, The Island Learning Centre in Newport, Cowes Enterprise College, and The Bay Church of England School in Sandown.

Omar’s visit to the Island was organised by local officers and organisations from the Community Safety Partnership and was well received by children at each location.

Omar said:

“It’s important for teenagers to understand the consequences of carrying a knife and that there is an alternative, even if they are feeling pressured by their peer group.

“I fully support the national Operation Sceptre campaign, the focus is on those vulnerable people living within our communities who could be targeted by others connected with drug and knife-related crime, which can have a devastating impact.

“I’d like to thank the Isle of Wight’s Community Safety Partnership for allowing me to share my experiences with teenagers across the Island.”

Get in touch
If you notice unusual activity in your street, or you are concerned about someone carrying a knife, please let us know, either by calling 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more information on the national campaign please visit the Website.

The Isle of Wight Community Safety Partnership brings together key organisations to work alongside each other to tackle, prevent and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour on the Island.

For more information please visit the Website.

Image: PCSO Steve Hull, Omar Sharif and PS Justin Pringle

Tuesday, 19th March, 2019 11:02am



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Police, Top story, Youth

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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7 Comments on "Isle of Wight teens hear inspirational talk on knife crime by former gang member"

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Another Perspective

Really? Is this really necessary on the IW?

..and look at the irresponsible photograph in the County Press article ‘Become a ‘super kid’ at Isle of Wight self defence class’. Surely we are in danger of normalising and potentially glamorising this issue of knife crime to certain elements, when it really isn’t an issue on the island, unlike major urban cities on the Mainland.

@ another perspective. Yes, this is most definitely necessary on the Island. There are many impressionable people growing up on the Island just as there are on the mainland. Crime isn’t something that just happens elsewhere. And the sooner someone decides to get a grip on the drugs problem that is rife on the Island the better. Too many people bury their heads in the sand and… Read more »
Another Perspective

The only knife crime I’ve hear of recently is some middle aged woman stabbing her partner, whereas our Island youngsters on the island seem very level headed and responsible to me.

How many youngsters in the last year have we hear about being patched up in St Mary’s having been attacked by a knife? How many deaths of youngsters from knife crime have there been on the island?

Sally Perry
There was a report in the CP recently of a child in primary school with a knife – can’t remember the exact details, but he’d try tried to cut some electrical wires with it and then some parents kept their children off school. Interestingly, we ran a workshop at last year’s Youth Literary Festival and when we asked what issues the young people wanted to raise, knife… Read more »
Another Perspective
You are absolutely right Sally, I remember the story. If I remember correctly the child was interested in taking stuff apart, not stabbing other children, I imagine he is on route to being a successful engineer. I remberer ac a child having a pen knife, then a sheath knife when in the scouts, and enjoying whittling bits of wood, there was never the intention or though of… Read more »
Sally Perry

I should also have added that I strongly believe prevention is better than cure. The Isle of Wight is not immune to what’s happening elsewhere, but with the right education, we can prevent it becoming as big a problem here as it has been in other parts of the UK (and world).

Another Perspective
You are of course right, I guess I’m suggesting knife crime really isn’t a problem on the island, that’s not to say it couldn’t become so. The trouble is our lives are so interconnected these days, if something happens anywhere in the world we immediately hear about it via the media, or social media, as such we can think issues that are a problem elsewhere are effecting… Read more »