Take a Knife Save a Life hopes to increase weapon sweeps in Havering with donated minibus
PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 18:35 23 January 2020
A street patrol group will now be able to increase its weapon sweeps in Havering with a new minivan that was purchased with donations from the community.
Take a Knife Save a Life (Taksal) launched its Safe Space initiative and unveiled a new minivan at The Rising Sun pub in Hornchurch's High Street on Sunday, January 19.
The volunteers chose The Rising Sun because the pub, along with Luna Lounge, The Vault, Versa Accountancy and Choice Interiors, donated the funds for the minibus.
Versa Accountancy also bought a defibrillator for the Taksal minibus.
Area coordinator Paula Mulvihill said: "Having the minibus will enable us to cover more of the area, especially during the winter months when we have fewer volunteers.
"We'll be able to target garages and fast food shops - all of the places that we know weapons are often hidden."
The Rising Sun is also one of several Havering businesses which have decided to officially become safe spaces.
If businesses are interested in becoming a Safe Space they can contact one of the Taksal committee members on Facebook and ask for a form to register their interest.
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Taksal will then conduct a risk assessment of the area and provide the business with a safe space sticker.
Paula told the Recorder that Taksal volunteers had removed more than 75 weapons from the streets since they launched their street patrol operation in March last year.
"We've got trauma and first aid kits," said the area coordinator.
"We're covering a lot of bases in order to be able to assist the community.
"We also try to educate parents about country lines and the dangers of carrying weapons."
Founder Stephen Gowers and committee member Sam Bird have been encouraging youngsters to take join boxing and football groups and the volunteers hope to launch a fitness boot camp in the summer.
Paula added: "We're being enveloped in a great amount of support from the local community.
"It's been so heartwarming to see how much of a community there still is out there.
"Building on that community can only help reduce crime in our areas."