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 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.
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’.
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”.
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: https://www.knifefree.co.uk/