Thousands of students attend anti-knife crime workshops during week of action
Main article content
More than seven thousand school pupils attended a series of online anti-knife crime workshops last week run by staff from Leicestershire Police.
The workshops were organised during Operation Sceptre - a national week of education and action designed to target those who carry weapons, education young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife and disrupt the supply of knives.
Throughout the week another five thousand students met and spoke to local beat teams who visited secondary schools in their neighbourhood, using a knife arch to show young people one of the ways officers can detect people carrying something metal. The knife arch was deployed 49 times during the week in parks, train stations and under passes as well as schools.
The huge response to the workshops reflects how keen schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to work with the police to discourage young people from picking up a knife. The force’s Children and Young Persons Officer, Katie Hudson, and Substance Misuse Officer, James Edmondston, held 15 workshops across the week presenting to 7314 young people and 268 teachers/professionals from 13 schools. The feedback was universally positive with 100% of respondents saying they would recommend the workshops to others.
The Principal of Judgemeadow Community College said; "Knife crime in Leicester poses a real threat to our young people. That is why at Judgemeadow we're delighted to be working with Leicestershire Police to educate our pupils about the dangers of carrying a knife and how to keep themselves safe. The police have been working with us at school, delivering workshops to our pupils ensuring they understand how dangerous it is to carry a knife. Keeping children in our community safe is our top priority. "
The week of action, which ran from Monday 15 November to Sunday 21 November, also resulted in 34 arrests, nine of them for knife related offences. In total, eight knives were recovered during 65 knife sweeps and a total of 138 knives/bladed items were recovered from knife surrender bins at six police stations. Officers made 51 visits to people suspected, through intelligence, to be knife carriers.
The We Don’t Carry #LivesNotKnives online campaign, designed in partnership with the Violence Reduction Network (VRN) reached 1.29m people across digital and social media channels. Officers gave out hundreds of information leaflets to young people and adults giving advice on where and how to get help and referring them to a new website LiveSafe.
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Drummond, from Leicestershire Police’s Violent and Complex Crime Unit, said: “What has been the highlight for me during this Op Sceptre has been the fantastic engagement, through schools and colleges, with young people across the force area. We had an incredible response to our online workshops and our new social media campaign aimed at young people called ‘We Don’t Carry’ and we’ve worked with different interventions designed and commissioned by the VRN, for example the Violence Intervention Project at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. Enforcement is of course important too but if we can work with our partners to stop people carrying a knife in the first place that would be the perfect result.”