Anti-knife crime group Inside Success Union accused of harassing public to raise cash

  • Tap above to watch video report by Kaf Okpattah

An anti-knife crime group has been accused of harassing and intimidating the public to force them into making donations.

It's claimed workers for Inside Success Union stopped people walking away or chased them down the street if they did and were usually found outside Tube stations.

The organization is a social enterprise, not a charity, which means it cannot ask for donations so instead sells magazines.

The Fundraising Regulator received more than a dozen complaints over two years including parents who said children has been intimidated into handing over money.

"I saw them on Snapchat and an advert was offering £100-a-day which when I was 16-years-old was a lot of money!" said former Inside Success Union worker Anthonia.

"And I thought the magazine we were selling we would be able to keep the money but we were told to give it to one of the leaders.

"In a typical day I would sell five to ten magazines. I sold one or two for £10 but ended up selling some for £1 or £2, way below average - I thought as long as I sell it I am making money.

"They said if you sell all your magazines you'll get £100 but I was never given any money even though I got sales," she added.

Anthonia worked for Inside Success Union in the summer of 2018 and was told to make polite conversation and not give away that we were trying to sell a magazine.

While she wasn't told to be aggressive with her sales technique she was told to be "very forward" and to sell all the magazines.

For Antonia it was her first job along with many of her colleagues, she added: "I was so excited they told us to dress up and wear a certain type of outfit.

Anthonia scrolling through the Inside Success Union website Credit: ITV News

"We were all young and perhaps because it was our first job they would think we didn't know it all works."

Inside Success Union describes itself as a social enterprise that works with 16-24 years olds to create a "digital interactive magazine" and discusses social issues young people face.

The organisation said their sole aim was to reach more of London’s "hardest groups" and take them away from unemployment and "difficult situation" for a healthier and happier life.

In its investigation the Fundraising Regulator said it received 15 complaints from the public in two years, including:

  • Groups of young men surrounding members of the public, intimidating them into making donations

  • Groups of young men causing obstructions near the entryway to a train station or on public roads

  • Employees approaching and intimidating young people (aged under 18) into donating money; and

  • The negative behaviour of the employee when the person declined to donate

In a statement the Fundraising Regulator said: "Inside Success Union did not initially acknowledge or engage with our draft or final investigation decision.

"It has since restated to us that its model is to sell magazines and not to seek donations. It told us it is making improvements to its training and monitoring to ensure that its staff do not engage in fundraising.

"It explained that any staff found to be doing this will be suspended and retrained.

"We are sharing our final decision with the relevant licensing bodies – the Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies, the London Councils, the Local Government Association, and the Metropolitan Police."

ITV News has contacted Inside Success Union for comment.

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