The owner of a clothes shop in south east London is offering refuge to teenagers who fear they may be a victim of knife crime.
Lawrence Roulland, the owner of Crep Select in Lewisham, provides a “safe space” to those who feel under threat from violence as part of campaign set up by charity For Jimmy.
For Jimmy was set up in 2009 following the killing of 16-year-old Jimmy Mizen, who Mr Roullard went to primary school with.
Mr Roullard told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that he feels “closely linked” to the issue of knife crime.
“Moving forward to the type of business I run it is a street fashion and youth-led business.,” he said.
“Most of my customers are in the demographic where the issue is more prevalent. It is closely linked to what I am doing for a living.”
'It is a safe space'
Mr Roullard said that the teenagers were carrying knives out of “fear”.
“We are on the front end of it and we see what is really going on,” he said.
“If you interviewed ten kids that have knives, nine of them don’t want to do it.
“But if you have got a knife, it is inevitable that there is going to be a problem.”
The shop owner said that these campaigns are necessary because teenagers will not go to the police.
“You have got a massive police station in Lewisham but you are very unlikely to go there for help, especially if you have got a knife,” he said.
“They know that if they come in with a problem that we are not going to judge.
“It is a safe space and we are respected within the community. If people help and talk about it, it will lessen.”