Education is key to tackle knife crime in Sheffield, says ex-offender

An ex-offender has dedicated his life, after being released from prison for manslaughter, to educating young people about the dangers of knife crime.

As the issue of knife crime continues to escalate in Sheffield, Hanif Mohammed, the assistant director at In2Change, wants to educate young people about the serious repercussions of carrying a weapon.

The 34-year-old said: “People often say, if it’s not broke, then why fix it? But we’re looking at a system that is flawed and diplomatic. We cannot continue with a reactive mentality and instead, intervention needs to start early.”

In the past few weeks alone, there have been multiple stabbings in Sheffield, including a 15-year-old boy who has been charged with attempted murder after a woman was stabbed.

Mr Mohammed believes there are a number of factors, including drugs and cultural trends, that have led to the increase in knife crime, especially involving young people.

“Teenagers can be young and impressionable, and so have this knee jerk reaction when they see that knives are considered the ‘in’ thing.”

Mr Mohammed was sentenced to 10 years in prison in January 2008 after he fatally stabbed a man.

He served five years before he was released in January 2013, when he was aged 29.

Now, five years later, he works for In2Change, an organisation trying to combat the issue of knife crime in Sheffield.

Set up in 2006 by Brian Wreakes, the aim is to bring awareness to ex-offenders, their families and young people through education and rehabilitation.

Mr Mohammed said: “We cannot miss a trick and we need to be blunt. When you paint the image of mothers grieving, then it makes it clear that education should be at the heart of it.”

Mr Mohammed is meeting with Superintendent Jennings and senior councillors to further discuss the issue.

Written by Hannah Daly

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