Birmingham & Black Country

CCTV of youth 'seconds from being shot' shown in schools

Genuine CCTV footage of a teenager with a toy gun potentially seconds away from being shot by police has now been shown to about 10,000 pupils.

The video, has been shown at 85 schools in the West Midlands as part of an anti-gun scheme and aims to highlight the dangers of gang culture.

Up to 86 under-18s in the region were charged with firearm possession between April 2008 and March 2010, police said.

The success of the project "can only be measured over many years", they added.

The CCTV footage of the teenager was filmed on Erdington High Street in north Birmingham.

Police had been contacted by the public about a youth seen with what was thought to be a gun. Armed officers responded.

PC Rob Pedley, a firearms trainer at West Midlands Police, said armed officers could have only a few seconds to decide whether to fire their weapons.

The boy ended up throwing the fake gun to the ground.

Mr Pedley said one of the officers involved said he was seconds away from discharging his weapon.

'Saving a life'

Marcia Shakespeare, the mother of Letisha Shakespeare who was killed in a gang-related shooting at New Year in 2003 also talks to pupils about her experiences.

She said: "A lot of people [involved in violent crime] are unaware of implications of the choices and the outcomes with violent crime.

"It's important to me to share my story.

"To me it's about saving a life."

The project, Guns and Knives Take Lives, focused on Birmingham schools and colleges when it was launched last year but has now been shown in Coventry, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.

It is paid for through the government's Communities Against Guns and Gangs initiative and has been approved to continue for the next financial year.

A force spokesman said: "Measuring the success of the programme is done mainly through voluntary feedback from pupils where the inputs take place, which has so far been overwhelmingly positive.

"Gang culture is a complex issue and one which cannot easily be tackled in any one particular way.

"Consequently, the successes of projects such as this can only be measured over many years by looking at the long-term trends of gun and gang related crime in the West Midlands."

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