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Encouraging sport to cut knife crime

PUBLISHED: 10:44 09 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:30 25 August 2010

ON TRACK: Manager Jason Hussain with Boris Johnson.

ON TRACK: Manager Jason Hussain with Boris Johnson.

PARENTS of murdered teen Rob Knox joined the London Mayor to launch the latest branch of a police sports club.

PARENTS of murdered teen Rob Knox joined the London Mayor to launch the latest branch of a police sports club.

Sally and Colin Knox, parents of the 19-year-old D&B Bromley School of Performing Arts student, met Boris Johnson at Sidcup Rugby Club to launch the latest training centre for Met-Track.

The police-run athletics project already runs two training nights in Bromley as well as one in Bexley and one in Lewisham in a bid to keep youths away from crime.

Speaking to a crowd last Wednesday, Mr Johnson said: "Stopping knife crime is not just about getting rid of knives. We need projects like this because sport teaches you the single most important thing you have to learn - losing.

"I know a lot about failure, I'm a Conservative and it is important because it teaches you how to deal with failure and that you can always win next time."

Mr Knox, who played Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince last year, was stabbed by Karl Bishop, 22, from Sidcup, who was humiliated at losing fights with Mr Knox's friends.

Jason Hussain, manager of Met-Track, said: "I would definitely like to think that we could have been of some benefit to Karl Bishop himself, if he'd met us as a youth.

"Turning people around or just bringing out the best in people to reduce crime. But we can't reach more people without more funding."

Met-Track, founded in 2005, has ten athletes competing at international level who spend evenings dedicated to training up wayward or vulnerable youths.

Mr Knox's mother, Sally, told the Times: "I think this is a fantastic idea - anything that gets kids off the streets is a good thing.

"But not all kids are sporty, my kids took an interest in drama and the arts. I'd also like to see more art projects in these areas."

Mr Johnson also announced a £23 million youth rehabilitation scheme, with measures including separating first time offenders in prison from repeat offenders.

Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse, said: "We are locking people up at a cost of around £80,000, and the re-offending rate stands at over 80 per cent.

"It's not just ethical to try and stop young people re-offending - it's the only sensible financial option."

For more information on Met-Track visit www.met-track.com.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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