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Knife crime: using the power of drill music to tackle gang culture

Wednesday 21st of August 2019 | Europe, United Kingdom
The Guardian
News

Like the rap duo Krept and Konan, Jinx Prowse, who runs the Music Fusion youth project in Hampshire, believes a police clampdown on drill music is not the answer to knife crime. “Gangs and their culture exist first. This then informs the music. Banning drill would be a naive and impotent response to addressing the real issues behind gang culture.”

“We give young people somewhere to belong, respect, a platform to express themselves and a safe place to hang out. Their music can be the first step in moving away from crime.”

The idea of using music to help young people improve their lives is central to the work of Music Fusion, which serves areas of extreme social deprivation in Portsmouth, Havant, Southampton, Gosport and Fareham. Nestled next to Havant’s tiny local museum, its studios rub up uneasily with the area’s seaside tourism.

London’s black communities may have been in the spotlight during the recent surge in knife crime, but predominantly white populations in provincial towns can also be badly affected. A Guardian analysis of official statistics this year showed a 46% average increase in knife-related offences in 34 English and Welsh counties since 2010, compared with an 11% rise in the capital. In 2010-11, there were 451 crimes involving knives or sharp implements in Hampshire. That had risen to 868 by 2017-18, although numbers dipped slightly this year.

Music Fusion aims to channel troubled youngsters’ energy away from crime, violence and anger by offering courses in rapping, singing and music production. But it is rap with a difference.

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  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Armand Campenhout, nº 72 bte 10. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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