Thousands of school children have seen the reality of carrying a knife after Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness funded specialist education sessions.

Over the last school year, the PCC’s Violence Reduction Unit worked with almost 3,500 children and young people to raise awareness of knife crime and the impact of carrying a knife, despite the restrictions in place due to lockdown.

The Education Team delivered interactive sessions for young people in schools and youth groups with a focus on awareness and prevention of knife crime.

The sessions covered why young people might carry a knife, the law, as well as providing advice on additional information and support. An incredible 152 sessions were delivered to young people throughout the North East, as part of a long-term ambition to fight crime.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness said: “It is vitally important that we continue to educate young people to provide them with the knowledge to make positive decisions for the future. I am delighted by how many young people my Violence Reduction Unit have engaged with and I encourage anyone in a school or youth setting to contact the team to arrange a session”.

During the pandemic the number of offences involving a knife dropped by 8% and hospital admissions for assault were down. Ms McGuiness added: “Although our region is very safe there is always a possibility that crime could increase as we come out of lockdown. Therefore, we must engage young people now to ensure they are diverted from crime by having the right support and opportunities. My Violence Reduction Unit are here to ensure that Northumbria Police are not alone in standing up to violent crime.”

The Education Team recently delivered a knife crime session at Barnardo’s Employment Training Skills North in North Shields. Helen Skea, Curriculum Lead said: “We had a great session with all the young people within our centre in partnership with Northumbria Youth Action. The session was about raising awareness of knife crime and the students were educated on the consequences and impact of carrying knives, not just for themselves but also for their family, friends and community. All our students have left the session with the clear understanding of the implications and devastating impacts and not to carry knives. In addition learners are now more aware of where to get advice and support in particular the #knifefree website and Fearless (Crimestoppers).”

Training is also available to those who work with young people to ensure they have an understanding of issues relating to knife crime such as the law and factors that increase a person’s vulnerability to becoming both a perpetrator and a victim.

For more information or to arrange an education session, please contact the Violence Reduction Unit by email