Police, Preston MP and community leaders join online event to discuss knife crime in Preston
Police, politicians and community leaders in Preston are taking to Facebook to discuss knife crime at a live event.
Preston interfaith group The Light Foundation has organised the Facebook Live session - 'Is Knife Crime a Problem in Preston?' - to be held next Thursday, January 21.
Lancashire Police has confirmed that it will attend the event along with city MP Sir Mark Hendrick and anti-knife crime campaigner Byron Highton, whose 18-year-old brother Jon-Jo was stabbed to death in Deepdale in 2014.
Other guest speakers include a local imam, a city councillor, a former police superintendent and a youth outreach worker.
The event has been organised in response to the fatal stabbings of two young men, Adam Le Roi and Sarmad Al-Saidi, in separate incidents in Preston late last year.
A spokesman for the Light Foundation said: "The increase in knife crime, and the two most recent murders of Adam Le Roi and Sarmad Ali-Saidi in Preston in the space of two months, has been shocking and frightening for those who have children and young adults.
"We have spoken to people in our community, from all backgrounds, who are seriously thinking of moving areas, which is sad.
"The purpose of this event is to raise awareness on this very important subject, with the overall aim of working alongside key partners to ensure that we build on more positive alternatives for our youth."
Sir Mark Hendrick MP, one of the special guest speakers, said the event will be an opportunity for a "positive discussion" on how to tackle knife crime.
He said: "There are agencies in Lancashire and Preston in particular that share my concerns about the increasing numbers of knives being carried by young people and the dangers that brings to young people, families and friends that are affected by knife crime.
"I look forward to a positive discussion on how we can tackle this scourge."
Guest panellists lined up for the event include local imam Moulana Amjad Bapu, city councillor Jonathan Grisdale, former Lancashire Police superintendent Andy Pratt and Fayyaz Ahmed, who set up youth football team Fishwick Rangers to help defuse racial tensions in Preston.
You can join the online event live on the Light Foundation's Facebook at 7.30pm on Thursday, January 21.
Full list of guest speakers
The full list of guest panellists lined up for the event include:
- Lancashire Police
- Sir Mark Hendrick MP (Member of Parliament for Preston)
- Byron Highton (anti-knife crime campaigner who set up The JJ Effect to try and steer youths away from knife crime after the murder of his brother Jon-Jo Highton in Deepdale 2014)
- Local imam and humanitarian Moulana Amjad Bapu
- Preston city councillor for St Matthew's ward Jonathan Grisdale (Coun Grisdale is also the chair of the Unite union's Black and Asian Ethnic Minority chapter for the North West)
- Former Lancashire Police superintendent Andy Pratt (now interfaith adviser to the Bishop of Blackburn)
- Youth and community outreach worker Fayyaz Ahmed (Mr Ahmed set up youth football team Fishwick Rangers to help defuse racial tensions in Preston)
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