East Ham MP Stephen Timms shoots hoops for campaign against knife crime

Prime minister David Cameron also gives his backing to police campaign

Stephen Timms – who was once stabbed twice in the stomach – led an event designed to tackle knife crime with basketball.

The East Ham MP was joined by other politicians and members of the police at a commemorative tournament at Rokeby School in Canning Town, on Friday evening.

Mr Timms played in a showcase match against the police team which marked the third anniversary of the ‘Carry A Basketball, Not A Blade’ campaign.

He was joined by leading politicians, police officers, community representatives as well as dozens of youngsters.

It was organised by the Newham All Star Sports Academy and included a minute’s silence in memory of those who have lost their lives to knife crime, led by Newham Young Mayor Ali Mohamed.

In between the games, between NASSA and the police, officers held workshops aimed at tackling knife crime, gang activity and anti-social behaviour.

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Chief Inspector Gary Brown, the youth lead from Newham Police, said: “I cannot praise NASSA enough for their commitment to keeping our young people safe through basketball.

“This is a magnificent event, and remembers those young people who have lost their lives throughout the capital because of knife crime.

“Newham Police remains totally committed to making people of all ages in the borough safer and this event is a great way to celebrate what the community and police, working together, can achieve.

A letter from Prime Minister David Cameron was read out at the tournament. It said: “I believe that we all need to work together to tackle crime, and I welcome the relationship that exists between NASSA, The Metropolitan Police, local schools and others. Your success is a great tribute to the results that can be achieved when people join together like this.”

Natasha Hart, director of NASSA, said: “Basketball offers the opportunity to develop key life skills and creates a strong team ethos as well as educating about health.

“But most importantly, it removes young people from the streets and away from the persuasion of becoming involved in knife crime.

“Carry A Basketball Not A Blade is about giving young people opportunities, creating role models and developing their self-belief.”

Guests included Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Simon Letchford who presented a cheque for �8,000 on behalf of The Metropolitan Police Association from the proceeds of crime to NASSA.

The police won by 83 to 79.