A series of ‘bootcamp’ events for teenagers at risk of violent crime in Southwark are beginning this October after a successful run in Lambeth.
Twenty-four teenagers from Southwark, aged between thirteen and sixteen, will be selected to join the next 72-hour bootcamp – with the aim of stopping them from becoming victims, or perpetrators, of knife crime.
The events are run by Personal Independence Support (PIP), a not-for-profit organisation that works with police to tackle youth crime.
According to its bosses, the scheme has already shown success, claiming that 64 per cent of the young offenders from Lambeth who attended its bootcamps outside the borough have not committed further crimes since.
Police will be helping to identify teens in mainstream education, and those who have been excluded or are in what is termed ‘alternative education’, who will benefit from the scheme.
Starting with an activity-filled weekend away in Sussex in October, the young people taking part will then benefit from a series of other opportunities held at school.
The organisers believe that by pushing mental and physical boundaries, and working as a group, the teenagers can help overcome negative, outside influences – such as peer pressure.
PIP chief executive, Michelle Quayle, said: “We believe that every young person has a choice, and it is vital to support them to realise they hold the keys to open up opportunities and not to be defined by bad things that may have happened or let pressure from others impact their futures.”
She is keen to stress that the bootcamps are ‘nothing to do with military-style shouting – but everything to do with the young people themselves learning how to deal with conflict, personal responsibility, team working and effective communication’.