Educating on joint enterprise in schools (Shutterstock: classroom)
Amongst the scores of joint enterprise cases that appear each year, occasionally one comes along that prompts change, be it the development of case law or a campaign response. One such case was the murder of Michael Campbell in 2005.
Campbell was killed as part of a street brawl between two groups of young men in West London in 2005. During the fight Campbell was stabbed and died of his injuries.
Amongst those convicted for his murder was Kenneth Alexander, a 20 year old social worker, who had not taken part in the attack, nor was he carrying a knife. Instead, Alexander was convicted for his part in telephoning friends alerting them to a possible fight, and for the fact he knew some friends did carry knives and therefore was aware of the potential for serious harm.
The case was to have repercussions. In the months after the trial the homicide detectives from the Metropolitan police force, who were involved in the case decided to do something about training young people aged between 12-17 years old on joint enterprise. The Met’s joint enterprise education programme was born.
These days it is spearheaded by Brian Fitzpatrick. He estimates he, and his team of volunteers, have spoken to around 20,000 to 30,000 young people in the past three-and-a-half years.
‘When I take the session in to schools it gets an incredible reaction, people are knocked for six. There are tears, arguments, debates, some kids come up and shake my hand. The message most people that is that they didn’t realise they had put themselves in jeopardy,’ Fitzpatrick explained.
‘The young people often talk about fairness especially when it comes to sentencing. The general feeling is those involved in the murders all are guilty but shouldn’t all get same sentence.’
‘I am not going out trying to sell joint enterprise to anyone, just telling people it exists,’ he added.
Lorraine Fraser is the mother of murdered teenage Tyrone Clarke, whose killers were convicted using joint enterprise.
Related article: Lorraine Fraser
Fraser has been involved in producing an educational DVD, ‘A Mother’s Story’, which has been distributed to schools. She delivers talks in schools and to youth offending teams, warning of the reality of knife crime and prosecutions through joint enterprise.
‘We need to start educating kids about this in primary school,’ she says, ‘I’ll always say be nosey with your children, find out who they’re hanging around with.’