A Waltham Forest youth engagement group are tackling the culture of knife crime among young people by going into schools and talking to students directly.

Members of the YIAG, Youth Independent Advisory Group, gave assemblies across Waltham Forest to more than 160 students.

Cara, a member of the YIAG, said: “We come from backgrounds as young offenders, victims of crime or live in areas where youth violence is a part of our lives.”

The group, made up of 15 to 25-year-olds, challenged attitudes to violence, gangs, substance abuse and relationships among high school pupils.

They emphasised the need to talk to and engage with young people.

The group also spoke to young people about their experiences of stop and searches conducted by Waltham Forest police force.

From these discussions, a number of recommendations have been handed on to police.

A representative of YIAG has been contacted to find out what those recommendations were.

YIAG members also accompanied Waltham Forest police officers on ‘ride alongs,’ where they sat in the back of police vehicles out on patrol.

They said the experience was “very interesting, and scary” and showed them how hard the task police face in the borough is.

The group also attended an emergency meeting with Walthamstow MP, Stella Creasy, on April 6 to discuss possible response to recent stabbings in the area.