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Police riot van has been officially ‘Pimped’!

MTV UK, EMI and Metropolitan Police service hand over pimped riot van to youth charity XLP

London, October 27th 2008: MTV UK, EMI and the Metropolitan Police have today revealed the revamped police riot van that has been pimped for London based youth charity XLP. The unique partnership aims to engage with young people to foster a greater understanding and counter the increasing concern about youth violence in London. The renovation will feature in a half hour special presented by Pimp My Ride UK presenter Tim Westwood, broadcast on 30th November at 7pm, MTV One.

“Using the popularity of the Pimp My Ride brand creates a high profile way in which we can go into local communities and help to make a positive change” says Philip O’Ferrall, Vice President Digital Media, MTV UK. “The initiative will have an impact in helping to reduce violence, and the van provides the opportunity for young people to talk, learn new skills and gain experience that they can apply to everyday life.”

The vehicle, ‘pimped’ by the production team behind the hugely popular MTV show Pimp My Ride UK, has been jam packed with music-based state-of-the-art equipment including a fully functioning recording studio, a mixing desk, pro-speakers and subs, three wireless laptops and a digital video camera. It also includes a sound proof booth for vocal recordings, which holds pro-mics, headphones and an electric guitar. The van will also be used as a stage where young people can gain performance experience.

The front of the van has been refitted in carbon fibre, black PVC with white leather seats, and there is a new MP3 stereo head unit with flipout 7″ DVD screen. The side door now opens vertically, and a 40″ plasma screen and Xbox with wireless controllers faces out of the side of the van. Also lying flat on the roof is a full sized remote controlled basketball backboard and hoop which rises and extends from the rear of the van.

The van, managed by XLP will be used by young people across select London boroughs including Southwark, Lewisham, Bexley, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Islington. XLP will be working with these adolescents to involve them in a number of projects including recording and publishing musical and drama projects; providing a performance platform where they can be mentored and giving basic training in music production. XLP will regularly work with music and performance arts departments in schools in urban priority areas to assist in preparing GCSE material as well as extra curricular training in music and drama. Additional funding to ensure the van is kept roadworthy and to cover its running expenses has been secured from the Safer London Foundation.

“The newly ‘pimped’ van will add a fresh dynamic to our work with London’s youth. We are looking forward to extending our work in the community arts in this innovative way, helping even more young people explore their creative potential” says Patrick Regan, CEO, XLP.

Additionally, XLP will be hosting regular podcast shows, documenting youth issues and giving them a platform to air their opinions, play their music or perform live. The charity will also film a series of at least six dramatic performances from young people which will be used as learning resources in schools, as well as using the van to resource other youth work initiatives.

Superintendent John Sutherland, Metropolitan Police Service at Islington, says: “The Met Police are committed to doing whatever it takes to make London a safer place for young people. We recognise that we can’t do that alone – and this exciting partnership with MTV, EMI, XLP and the Safer London Foundation is a creative and innovative approach to concerns we all share. We know the availability of youth facilities varies from place to place and that young people are sometimes reluctant to travel far to access those facilities – so a mobile youth club makes perfect sense. The fact this particular project has been developed by MTV’s Pimp My Ride team is a major boost to its profile amongst those we are trying so hard to reach.”

EMI has helped fund the transformation of the van and will continue to be involved in the project going forward. Through the skills and experience of its artists and employees EMI will help the young people using the van to get the most out of its music facilities and capabilities.

“The key areas of focus for EMI’s social and community-based activities are youth, music and addiction. By providing young people with new opportunities based around music, this Pimp My Ride project is a great initiative that we’re pleased to add our support to alongside MTV and the Metropolitan Police. We hope XLP and all its members will gain tremendously from the newly pimped vehicle and all it has to offer” says Janie Orr, chief executive of the EMI Music Sound Foundation.

The show will air on the 30th November, 7pm on MTV One

  1. Notes to Editors
    MTV Networks UK & Ireland operates 3 channel groups – Comedy, Kids and Music – and is part of MTV Networks, the largest television network in the world and a leading creator of programming and content across all media platforms, with 112 channels and 94 websites reaching more than 440 million households in 167 countries worldwide. MTVN UK’s 10 branded music channels comprise of MTV One, MTV One+1, MTV Two, MTV Base, MTV Dance, MTV Hits, MTV®, VH1, VH1 Classic and TMF. They feature the best in music alongside popular shows such as Pimp My Ride, My Super Sweet 16, The Hills, Punk’d and Cribs. MTV Network’s music channels are available on Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview. Paramount and Nickelodeon in the UK are part of the MTV Networks International portfolio of channels through joint ventures with BSKYB. In addition, MTV Networks is a pioneer in the world of digital media, winning awards for its interactive and online services, as well as being the first media company to offer made-for-mobile 3G video content. MTV Networks is a unit of Viacom.
  2. XLP stands for “The eXceL Project” (registered charity No. 1101095) and was started by Patrick Regan in Peckham, South London, in 1996 after a stabbing in a school playground. XLP now serves young people in schools and communities across 7 of the London’s poorest boroughs (Southwark, Lewisham, Bexley, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Islington). Now, on a monthly basis, XLP operates in over 40 schools (P.H.S.E/Citizenship lessons, assemblies, lunch-time clubs, music, drama, R.E. and reading support), hosts over 65 after-school clubs in local communities and on its double-decker bus facility (computers upstairs and youth “drop-in” downstairs), and organises an Arts Showcase programme and Gunzdown events. It has a wealth of experience of organising grassroots youth projects all year round and is continually striving to introduce trail blazing youth initiatives.
    XLP has 3 clear objectives. First to transform the attitudes and behaviors of young people towards their families, their peers, their teachers and others;
    to raise their sense of self-worth, self-esteem and educational achievement so that they can confidently and positively contribute to society; and
    and finally to encourage and empower young people to set goals, work hard to achieve them, and make wise lifestyle choices.
  3. About EMI Music
    EMI Music is one of the world’s leading music companies, representing artists spanning all musical tastes and genres. Its record labels include Angel, Astralwerks, Blue Note, Capitol, Capitol Nashville, EMI Classics, EMI CMG, EMI Records, EMI Televisa Music, Manhattan, Mute, Parlophone and Virgin.
  4. The Metropolitan Police Service has recently confirmed that the prevention of serious youth violence is its number one priority for London and launched Operation Blunt II in recognition of this fact. For more information contact the Metropolitan Police Service Press Bureau at New Scotland Yard: 0207 230 2171
    Operation Blunt 2 is continuing to carry out more stop and search operations across London to crackdown on knife crime. Since Blunt 2 was launched on 19th May 2008, more than 103,000 searches have been conducted, over 4,000 people have been arrested and 2,600 knives have been recovered. In addition, Safer Neighborhoods Teams in all 624 London wards have searched over 2,800 venues and areas to recover concealed weapons. Nine out ten people arrested for possession of knives are now being charged and sent to court.

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