Reducing Knife Crime in London - How one teenager is mentoring the Met Police

Today is the first in a mini-series with The Girl's Network, a UK mentoring charity set up to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities by connecting them with a mentor and and a network of professional female role models.

Helen Wills speaks to Ishrat Hussain about how being mentored through the Girl's Network has led to her becoming a mentor herself at the age of 18 - and to a senior member of the Met Police in London!

We talk about gang culture and knife crime in one the most disadvantaged areas of London, Newham, where Ishrat grew up. Ishrat knew two teenagers who have died in the last year as a result of knife crime.

Ishrat's family immigrated to the UK from Bangladesh in the 1970s. Her mum got her involved in local politics from a young age, taking her to polling stations. Now Ishrat has a place at University to study politics, and is hoping to engage in community lobbying and activism to influence outcomes for young people in communities like hers.

Listen to the podcast to hear her remarkable insights into why there is such distrust between young people and the police in her community, and what she thinks needs to be done about it.

About the Met Police scheme with the Girl's Network

The Met Police got involved with the Girl's Network in 2018, providing female mentors for teenage girls in the least advantaged communities, but the process has now been reversed with the launch of a girl-led mentoring scheme for the police.

The objective is for these young women to have their voices heard, gain a platform, develop their confidence, and represent their communities.

Ishrat says "Two years ago I was shy and lacked confidence. Now I am mentoring senior officers at the Met Police as part of a pilot campaign."

If the scheme is a success, it will be rolled out across other London boroughs.

More on London's knife crime problems

More teenage parenting tips from Helen Wills:

Helen wills is a teen mental health podcaster and blogger at Actually Mummy a resource for midlife parents of teens.

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There are already stories from fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers - including losing a parent, becoming a young carer, and being hospitalised with mental health problems - and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.

You can find more from Helen Wills on parenting teenagers on Instagram and Twitter @iamhelenwills.

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Please note that Helen Wills is not a medical expert, and nothing in the podcast should be taken as medical advice. If you're worried about a teenager, please seek support from a medical professional.

Podcast produced by James Ede at Be Heard production.