Schools across the region are set to receive new guidance on how they can effectively respond to an incident should a knife or offensive weapon be brought onto school grounds.

As part of an on-going commitment to tackling knife crime and ensuring the safety of students and teachers, the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, Northumbria Police and local councils have come together to develop this vital guidance for schools.

The guidance was a welcome step at the recent Newcastle community safety meeting, and follows early work from South Tyneside Council, which has been adapted for use across the region to ensure teachers know how to respond if a bladed weapon is found on school premises.

Within the guidance, further information is provided on safely searching a young person suspected of carrying a knife, how to record the incident and when to contact the police.

The guidance also takes a preventative approach by looking to establish why an individual may be carrying a knife and if there are any underlying concerns or risks to address in order to prevent serious and violent crime.

This comes as part of the Violence Reduction Unit’s wider work to educate young people on the impact and consequences of knife crime through its dedicated education team, as well as its Student Support Champions currently working with pupils in Newcastle secondary schools.

Speaking about the new guidance for schools, Director of the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, Steven Hume said: “This comprehensive guidance provides a unified approach to addressing incidents involving knives should they be brought into schools, whilst also focusing on prevention and support for those involved. It is essential to equip schools with the tools and knowledge they need to respond to an incident if one were to occur, however no one should be feel the need to carry a knife. The roll out of the guidance is a very important step in tackling knife crime, which will see it sit alongside the wider work of the Violence Reduction Unit and our partners.”

Cllr Paula Maines, Cabinet member for a Resilient City at Newcastle City Council, said: “The safety and wellbeing of pupils and staff at schools is of paramount importance to us. The new guidance is part of our on-going commitment to tackle knife crime and ensures schools have the tools to respond to incidents in a safe and effective manner. We remain committed to working with partners to ensure our schools and communities continue to be safe places where young people can thrive and reach their full potential.”

Chief Superintendent Joanne Park-Simmons, of Northumbria Police, said: “Tackling knife crime is a priority for the Force and we all have a role to play in highlighting the devastation knife crime can cause. A huge amount of work is ongoing with partners to prevent people getting involved in this type of offending, including with schools to educate young people about the dangers of carrying weapons. As ever, we would ask families to continue having those conversations about the potentially fatal and irreversible consequences that carrying a knife can have.”

For more information, please contact the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit by email