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Cheshire schools take on GANGS

An early intervention programme, aimed at challenging and changing young people’s attitude around gang culture and knife crime, is proving to be a success in Cheshire.

Over the past 18 months, pupils across Cheshire have taken part in the Get Away ‘N’ Get Safe sessions in school. 

Also known as ‘GANGS’, the programme was set up by James Riley, who worked as a probation officer for 18 years, specialising in Urban Street Gangs and Organised Crime Groups. It’s targeted at young people to empower them to make the right decisions and not be tempted by gang culture, knife crime – and to generally take greater social responsibility. 

Funding for the programme in Cheshire schools was secured by Chief Inspector Sarah O’Driscoll, who submitted an application to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police Innovation Fund – a fund which helps support new projects which will have a positive impact on policing in the county. 

Chief Insp O’Driscoll said:

“Having worked with James for a number of years I am aware how much his input can educate young people around some of the dangers of knife crime and Gangs.  

“It’s really important to me that we use seized criminal gains to educate young people to deviate them away from crime and make sure they are aware of the consequences of their actions. 

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to share James’s life experiences with so many young people in Cheshire, who I hope will make the right choices and mature into responsible young adults.” 

A total of 27 schools have benefitted from the programme across the last two academic years. Five intense, one-hour sessions are taught Monday to Friday highlighting the dangers and consequences of youth crime, ASB, weapons, drugs, exploitation, county lines, organised crime groups and gang lifestyle for the individual, their families and the wider community. 

GANGS founder James Riley said:

“I would like to thank CI Sarah O’Driscoll for supporting the project and for introducing our organisation to Cheshire schools. 
 
“I hope to educate many young people to keep them on the right path in life and empower them to achieve their hopes and dreams.” 

The programme is inclusive of all learning styles and uses presentations, role play, music and videos to engage the participants whilst continually sending out the message, “Get Away ‘N’ Get Safe". 

For further details on the GANGS initiative visit: 

www.getaway-n-getsafe.co.uk 

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