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South African philosophy used to tackle knife crime in London

A South African tribal philosophy has been trialled in London to help reduce knife crime and improve relations between young people and the police.

The South African philosophy used is known as ‘Ubuntu’ which reminds us of the common humanity we all share and the responsibility that we have towards others. The findings of the 12-month project, which was run by Youth Futures and the Tutu Foundation UK charity, were announced at an event in Lambeth Palace.

The ‘Police-Youth Round Tables’ project has seen 20 faith-environment events take place across London, bringing groups of disenfranchised young people aged 12-25 face-to-face with police officers to address both sides’ differences. Nearly 250 young people took part in the roundtables.

Each event saw participants take part in reverse role play exercises, which involved police officers act as young people being stopped and searched on the street and vice versa. The Tutu Foundation reported that both sides had reported improved views and understanding about one another following the roundtables.

Clive Conway, chair of the Tutu Foundation UK said:

The round tables set out to examine whether dialogue and interaction could help reduce increasing levels of violence, knife crime, and mistrust between young people and the police.

For a pilot programme, the early results have been very encouraging. We’ve now collected and analysed a mass of feedback and data from the young people and 75 police officers who took part.

Blair Adderley, a 23-year-old who took part as a facilitator, said:

Being a facilitator in the round tables has helped me see police officers as people, not uniforms. This is an essential part of breaking down barriers.

For further details about the project please visit: