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Redbridge primary school pupils robbed at knifepoint as an interactive way to learn about crime

PUBLISHED: 17:18 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:19 04 July 2018

Children from one of the sessions. Picture: PC Kimberly Gakhal

Children from one of the sessions. Picture: PC Kimberly Gakhal

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A Year 6 pupil had his mobile stolen at knifepoint when he took his phone out to dial 999 after witnessing a car crash.

These knives were taken off children in the borough. Picture: Ellena CruseThese knives were taken off children in the borough. Picture: Ellena Cruse

A group of 10 and 11-year-olds had witnessed the collision at Hargreaves Scout Camp Site, Romford Road, and were in the process of calling the emergency services for assistance when a man jumped out at them armed with a blade.

Luckily for the children, the scenario had been staged by the police as part of an awareness day to educate them on what to do if they are faced with this situation.

Afterwards, the attacker, Ibraahim Russul Saib, of the Met Police Territorial Support Group, talked the pupils through the dos and don’ts of the incident which had certainly “taken the children by surprise”.

Imparting interactive knife safety messages - which will no doubt stay with the children for much longer than being lectured at in a stuffy assembly hall - was just one of 10 different scenarios the pupils participated in as part of the junior citizenship scheme on Thursday, June 28.

the overall winners were announced. Picture: Ellena Crusethe overall winners were announced. Picture: Ellena Cruse

The East Area Command’s delivery team offers two lots of free courses each year for pupils moving into secondary school and 90per cent of primary schools in Redbridge take part.

“(Pupils at Redbridge schools) see ‘good’ kids carrying knives - they think it’s cool to get into a gang,” said Ibraahim. “But they don’t see the same kids crying in custody when they get charged, and they don’t see that most of the luxury items the gang members have, like cars, are actually hired out.

“They think they are invincible and they are not.”

Ibraahim said when he was 16 his friend was stabbed and he reiterated to the children that he was sharing his knowledge about knives not just as a police officer but as a former Redbridge pupil.

Firefighter John Webster of Walthamstow Green Watch led a session on safety along with 'knife robber' Met Police officer Ibraahim Russul Saib. Picture: Ellena CruseFirefighter John Webster of Walthamstow Green Watch led a session on safety along with 'knife robber' Met Police officer Ibraahim Russul Saib. Picture: Ellena Cruse

“When you get stabbed it can sometimes feel like a punch, adrenaline takes over, the wound closes up and you don’t realise you are bleeding internally,” he added

“Depending on how you are stabbed it can be a little or a lot of blood, it is so easy to bleed out.

“Kids often think their phone is everything, but if you get robbed it is better to let them run away with it and not chase them- you don’t know what they are carrying on them.

“A £100, £200 phone is replaceable, you are not.”

PC Kimberly Gakhal. Picture: Ellena CrusePC Kimberly Gakhal. Picture: Ellena Cruse

As well as hearing about knife related crimes the children took part in a Barbie and Ken role play to learn about indecent images,

The two dolls meet and hit it off and all is going well until Ken requests a photo.

Barbie sends him one, but Ken then asks for a shot of her breasts.

After obliging, Ken then shares the image with his friends on social media, much to the upset of Barbie and her family and the children talk through the consequences of giving out personal photos.

In another poignant activity, the Year 6s learnt how to safely navigate a bus and Tube and what to do if they come across a suspicious package. Stephen Irving, of the British Transport Police, said for many of the children, starting secondary school is the first time they travel on their own.
“We deliver this session on behalf of Transport for London and show the children where the help point is and the dangers of a live track,” he said.
“It’s vital that they get this message as they are no longer being ferried about by mum and dad.“

From Tube safety to the dangers of drug trafficking, the children score points for correct answers at each scenario and an overall winner is announced at the end.

In reality however, everyone is a winner as they have learnt information which could save their life.

Pc Kimberly Gakhal of the dedicated delivery team takes up the huge logistical challenge of organising the “vital” day for school children in Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham.

“You find people listen more when they are involved rather than talked at,” she said.

“I went on a similar day 15 years ago and I still remember it - it sticks in your mind.

“You can never measure the impact of preventative measures but this day saves lives.

“It is much better to do preventative initiatives, then come in afterwards and punish.”


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