Tag Archive: criminal

Former criminal becomes crime prevention campaigner

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CHANGING LIVES: Naz has spoke with over 15,000 children about the dangers of pursuing a criminal lifestyle

CHANGING LIVES: Naz has spoke with over 15,000 children about the dangers of pursuing a criminal lifestyle

A former criminal from Bradford, who was previously handed a nine year prison sentence for a drug related offence, has since helped over 15,000 children deter from a life of crime.

Arfan Naseer, known as Naz, is not your ordinary ex-convict.

He is the founder of Bradford-based Con-sequence – an organisation set up to highlight the true impact of a criminal lifestyle with help and accounts from ex-offenders.

After falling into the wrong crowd in his teenage years, Naz paid the price for delving into the illegal practice of drug dealing and was soon arrested for his role.

During his time behind bars, he suffered from low self-esteem yet one meeting with a representative from the national charity – The Prince’s Trust – soon turned his life around.

“I was lucky because I was given a second chance,” he said. “I had someone who believed in me with the Prince’s Trust and it allowed me to flourish and become what I am now.”

WORKING IN BRADFORD: Con-Sequence is currently working alongside Bradford’s Centre of Excellence

WORKING IN BRADFORD: Con-Sequence is currently working alongside Bradford’s Centre of Excellence

Working alongside the charity – which aims to help unemployed or struggling young people to transform their lives – Naz was able to share his story with children across the North of England.

He became the country’s first serving prisoner to work alongside the Trust, as he began to undertake the huge task of turning around the lives of youngsters who may have ended up in a life of crime.

“At that time, there were no visuals, no props, it was just me talking to the kids,” he said.

“I learnt so much from that time that when I was released, I continued working with the Trust for a couple of years.”

A short time later Naz set up his own enterprise, Con-sequence, to continue and build on the work he had started during his incarceration.

Since then, Con-Sequence has worked with children across the north of England, delivering presentations to schools and community groups, and reaching out to over 15,000 young people.

In 2015 the enterprise joined forces with Bradford’s Centre of Excellence.

The centre, which features in-house mock jail cells, a court and living area, was developed as part of the city’s pledge to do more to prevent ‘at risk’ young members of society turning to crime.

Based at Girlington Community Centre, the facilities are located in the city which Naz grew up and was arrested in.

“At the moment we are delivering all the sessions on prison and crime at the centre,” he explained.

“So far, around 1,600 kids have attended classes as we reiterate the point that any criminal lifestyle is only ever short-lived.”

He added: “There are two things I guarantee to anybody considering a life in crime.

“First of all, I tell them they will end up in prison. That is a guarantee. Secondly, it could cause your death.”

The second point is doubly true for Naz who saw one of his co-workers gunned down earlier this year for turning his back on his former criminal life style.

“He was one of our former outreach workers,” Naz said. “He approached the group two years ago and said he didn’t want paying for the work, he just wanted to help the community

“Con-sequence was working with him, I focussed on the drugs side, and he would focus more on the violence crimes.

“Unfortunately, due to his former lifestyle, his so-called former partners beat him up this Ramadan and gunned him down outside his home in West Bowling. He was shot in the head.

“That person has left behind a family and a wife.”

The man’s father is now working with Con-Sequence to highlight the impact a criminal lifestyle can have on the entire family.

“We aren’t talking about movie plots to these kids,” he added. “These are the faces they see every day in Bradford who are being killed because of crime.”

With over 10 years of work on the project, Naz now has ambitions to roll out the project nationwide.

He hopes to meet with government officials and MPs to discuss plans of expansion.

“I want the chance to make this into a hardcore subject for schools,” he said. “Young people are aspiring to be role models in the wrong crowd - I know that because I did too.

“Now I want to do something to change these perceptions and make Bradford, and the UK, a better place to grow up in.”

 

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Report falls short of labelling former PM a war criminal despite protests

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SIX YEAR WAR: The death toll from the Iraq war stood in the hundreds of thousands and included 174 British troops

SIX YEAR WAR: The death toll from the Iraq war stood in the hundreds of thousands and included 174 British troops

Blair slammed in Chilcot report

FURTHER CONTROVERSY: Tony Blair’s legalisation of the war was labelled as ‘unsatisfactory’ in the Chilcot Report, which is heavily critical of the former Prime Minister

FURTHER CONTROVERSY: Tony Blair’s legalisation of the war was labelled as ‘unsatisfactory’ in the Chilcot Report, which is heavily critical of the former Prime Minister

Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, says he had the country in his ‘best interests’ when opting to take military action against Saddam Hussein, following the publication of the seven-year inquiry into the Iraq War.

The Chilcot Report, as it is known, provides a scathing verdict on the UK’s involvement in the US-led invasion of Iraq and says Blair relied on ‘flawed intelligence’ in the build up of the deployment of British troops.

The way the war was legally authorised was also labelled as ‘unsatisfactory’, with the original justification for war – that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction – eventually proving to be overhyped.

During the report’s release this past week, former civil servant and inquiry chairman, John Chilcot, said: “It is an account of an intervention which went badly wrong, with consequences to this day.”

WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS: 45,000 British troops were sent to Iraq to support the US-led invasion

WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS: 45,000 British troops were sent to Iraq to support the US-led invasion

At 2.6 million words, the report took seven years to complete. The inquiry was given unprecedented access to confidential government documents during the investigation and took longer to compile than the length of the war in Iraq.

In an almost two hour defence of his actions this week, Blair explained his decision to back Bush and go to war alongside the United States in March 2003, at a time when the inquiry said Saddam posed no imminent threat.

CAUSE FOR WAR: Blair claimed that Saddam Hussein had access to weapons of mass destruction – something the Chilcot Report says was unjustified

CAUSE FOR WAR: Blair claimed that Saddam Hussein had access to weapons of mass destruction – something the Chilcot Report says was unjustified

“I did not mislead this country,” he told reporters. “There were no lies, there was no deceit, there was no deception.

“But there was a decision, and it was a controversial decision ... to remove Saddam and to be with America. I believe I made the right decision and the world is better and safer as a result of it.”

Sir John Chilcot’s report also revealed that Blair wrote to then US President, George W Bush, some eight months prior to the invasion, to offer his backing before UN weapons inspectors had even completed their work.

“I will be with you, whatever,” he signed it.

45,000 British troops, of which 174 were killed, were sent to battle in Iraq when peace options had not been exhausted, the inquiry also revealed. Over 150,000 Iraqi civilians also lost their lives.

It is figures such as these which have led to many critics calling for Blair to be tried as a war criminal with Blair responding by describing the deaths as a ‘profound regret’.

“Above all, I will pay tribute to our Armed Forces,” he said in a statement. “I will express my profound regret at the loss of life and the grief it has caused the families, and I will set out the lessons I believe future leaders can learn from my experience.”

To those who say he lied about his reasoning to send British troops to Iraq, he added: “[The report should] lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit.”

POLITICAL LEADER: Calls have been made for Tony Blair to be tried as a war criminal

POLITICAL LEADER: Calls have been made for Tony Blair to be tried as a war criminal

The only Labour prime minister to win three general elections, Blair was in office for 10 years until 2007 and was hugely popular in his heyday, but Iraq has severely tarnished his reputation and legacy.

Outside the press conference, where Chilcot presented the findings, protestors gathered with many chanting “Tony Blair, war criminal.”

Reg Keys, whose son, 20-year-old Lance Corporal Thomas Keys, was killed in Iraq, spoke to reporters.

He said: “We all know who the key players are ... who took part in this most shambolic episode in British politics. We would like to see all those key players face some form of accountability.”

He added: “If that's through the legal channels, then we will look at that and see what's viable and appropriate. It has been passed over to lawyers.”

NO REGRETS: A statement from Former US President, George W Bush, says he believes the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein

NO REGRETS: A statement from Former US President, George W Bush, says he believes the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein

A statement issued by Bush's spokesman, Freddy Ford, said the former president had not had a chance to read the report but defended the war's goal of ousting Saddam.

“Despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power,” the statement said.

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