Education is key to stopping gun and knife crime

A 20-year-old man has turned 700 melted knives handed in at amnesties across South Wales and Yorkshire in the UK into keys writes Tamara Obeng.

Alexander Rose, a graphic design student and founder of the campaign Solve This Ongoing Problem (S.T.O.P) designed the keys with the engraving  "Education. This used to be a knife."

Rose launched S.T.O.P after his close friend Eugene Attram,16, was stabbed to death in 2006.

He said:  "Guns and knives tear communities. My solution stems from art. The solution is education.

 "It's not the metal's fault that it was shaped to be a gun. We've taken that weapon and transformed it into something better. Keys open doors and that's what education does."

Last week, 50 keys were won at the charity's Start, Think  'n Stop event at the Ministry of Sound nightclub in Elephant and Castle, London.

The event was hosted by comedian Richard Blackwood and featured new U.K entertainment act, the Boxettes, singer Chyna Soulstar and Choice FM radio's DJ Abrantee.

Speaking on the issue of gun and knife crime, Blackwood said:  "The government is not going to do it. We have to do it for ourselves."

He added:  "If we are aware that someone we know is messing up, a nephew or even your son, it's our duty to step in. We need to support Alex and make the keys fashionable so everyone wants one."

Guests also had the opportunity to buy S.T.O.P t-shirts, usually sold at  ‚¤23, for  ‚¤6.

Tolu Williams, 19, who attended the event said:  "I don't think it could have gone any better than it did. I was so happy to see so many people showing support for Alex.

 "I truly believe S.T.O.P can make a difference. With God's grace the growing problem of gun and knife crime can be stopped.

 "I'm so protective of my key but everyone wants one. I tell them get the guns and knives off the streets and you might get a key."

Rose now pledges to increase the number of keys and to make them using weapons from London.

Latest figures from the Metropolitan Police show 4,723 knives have been seized and a 12% drop in knife crime in the capital.

The event will be featured in a Channel Four Tv programme Battlefront to be aired in May.