Premier League Kicks. Pic: Cut It Out 2019.
Over a thousand people gathered at Crystal Palace Football Club’s ground, Selhurst Park, last Saturday to participate in Cut It Out 2019, a football tournament that aimed to unite the community against knife crime.
The Cut It Out 2019 event was organized by Croydon BME Forum, along with Croydon Council, Croydon police, the Palace for Life Foundation and other community groups. The event championed the council’s Choose Your Future campaign, which aimed to tackle serious youth violence and support young people to make positive choices.
Among the 11 participating teams, a team representing Premier League Kicks, a community football programme run by the Premier League for teenagers in Lewisham and Southwark, won the tournament.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities expressed her appreciation for the opportunity: “I’d like to thank all the councillors who supported the event through their ward budgets given its purpose to bring young people together with the police and the council to break down barriers in the fight against knife crime.”
— CUTITOUT2019 (@cutitout2019) May 25, 2019
Croydon has been ranked as one of the worst London boroughs for knife crime. In 2018, Croydon recorded 530 counts of knife crime, which was nearly 20 per cent more than the average of all London boroughs. Within this total, 163 caused injury – 23 per cent more than the London average.
With recent measures taken by the council, the number of knife crime has shown a declining trend over the past two years. In 2017, there was a 12-month average of 54 recorded counts of knife crime. The number dropped to 44 in 2018, and 43 for the first four months in 2019.
Croydon knife crime count. Source: Metropolitan Police
For the past few years, a variety of measures were introduced by the council to ease crime tension, including campaigns and workshops to tackle young people’s mental health concerns, as well as initiatives to open up job and education opportunities for residents. Cut It Out aims to raise public awareness towards knife crime.
Other participating teams included All Inclusive Football Team, Croydon All Stars, Croydon councillors, Croydon Female All Stars, City Hall staff, the Fathers Forum, Lions Society, London Road Businesses, Neighbourhood Safety Officers, and Selhurst Community Team.