Tackling gang crime from a different perspective

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PC Nelena Paparisva makes a return appearance on our blog. This time, she writes about her two weeks interning at Accenture, one of Police Now’s partners and her experience tackling gang crime from inside the corporate world.

So, there I was, sitting at my local Starbucks, sipping a warm caramel macchiato, completing my application for an internship with Accenture, whilst listening to various names being funnily mispronounced by the baristas.

Fast forward two months…I had finished my satisfying caramel macchiato and the application (!), and found myself sitting at Accenture’s lobby at Fenchurch Street, surrounded by businessmen and women, walking at a very fast pace holding their own caramel macchiatos, in their perfectly ironed and colour-coordinated outfits. I was greeted by one of the members of X Labs who introduced me to the rest of the team I’d be working with (a researcher, two developers and three designers). I could tell they were all happy to have me and Jessica, the second Police Now officer, on board, as they instantly offered us cookies and croissants!

After the initial introductions and creative warm-up exercises, we looked at the brief for the problem we were asked to find a digital solution for: gang crime. I had been emailed all the relevant materials the week before and had a Skype meeting with the team, which gave me an insight to the task set before us. I remember how much I panicked when I first read those emails. I wondered how on earth I would be able to come up with such an impactful idea, so quickly. What I failed to realise is that I wasn’t expected to miraculously have a light bulb moment and stop gang crime on my own in a week! We were a team. And as a team, in the words of Police Now, we would be using synergy to find a solution collaboratively. I did indeed have a light bulb/reminder moment during that week, but that was for realising how invaluable having a diverse set of brains with different experiences brainstorming together is. The last time I had that moment was during the Police Now Summer Academy. How do they do this?!

The variety of input and approach methods during my internship week was impressive: we spoke to an ex-offender to gain a better understanding of the root of the problem, incentives for youths and what life is like after prison, met a young person involved in gang crime and also a youth worker from Wolverhampton where the issue has had a significant impact on the community. We reached the decision to tackle this problem from a preventative angle and target young children and schools, rather than focus on intervention or rehabilitation, as we believed that is how we would have the biggest impact. To my surprise, we did actually come up with a digital and interactive solution in time and got the chance to pitch it internally to a senior member of Accenture which was a rather stressful, yet fun experience.

A month on, our idea (our little baby!) is currently being developed so that it can be pitched to potential buyers, which is very exciting considering it all started off with a caramel macchiatto!