The recent spate of knife-crime which seems to drag in young people, and the resulting concerns that something should be done about young people who simply cannot keep away from trouble reminded me of some young people I met a few years ago. I was researching ideas for a novel and the British Army kindly invited me to the Army Recruiting Office in Ilford, one of the best, I was told, in the country.
The two staff-sergeants responsible for this recruiting office put their success down to local teenagers who could see the trouble that awaits young people on the streets of their town and join up. In this way they can avoid the temptations and traps that can ensnare unwary youngsters. In the army they can grow up away from trouble on the streets and can return home, if they wish, as young adults, no longer attracted to street life.