Knife crime prevention event for school children held in West Yorkshire (28 Feb 2019)

Llnk 8_0School children from across Leeds were warned not to get involved in knife crime by people who have seen the devastating consequences of it firsthand.

The young students heard inputs from a mother whose son was stabbed to death in Leeds, a wife of a man serving a considerable prison sentence for knife violence, someone seriously injured by a knife and also someone who spent time inside for knife crime.

They were also shown some of the basics of crime scene investigation work and some first aid skills

The event on Wednesday (27/02) held at the Force's Training and Development Centre was funded by money from the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner's Safer Communities Fund.

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson from West Yorkshire Police opened the event. She said: "The aim of this event was to warn young people about the dangers of carrying a knife. Our message is simple - don't carry one.

"Some of the talks the children heard came from people who have in one way or another been caught up in knife crime. Many of the messages were harrowing. They were difficult to hear but if those messages help to stop just one child getting involved in knife crime then they are making an impact.

"We also had people from the organization Street Doctors who spoke with the young people about basic first aid skills and busting medical myths that include people thinking that if you stab someone in the leg they will be OK. We also put a mock Crime Scene Investigation scene up to show what happens when we as a Force have to investigate the tragic consequences of knife crime.

"We want young people to know the risks of carrying a knife. The young people we spoke to today are at that stage in their lives where they have options and we want them to make a positive contribution in society and not be caught up in knife related violence.

"I would like to thank everyone involved for helping to make a real difference.

"I would encourage any young person who feels that they or a friend are in trouble and / or feeling pressured to speak to someone they trust to get help."

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson said:

"Tackling serious violent crime remains an absolute priority and I am doing all I can alongside our partners to address the problems across West Yorkshire.

"The event under the 'Leeds Lives, Not Knives' campaign has been made possible thanks to a successful £3,400 grant from my Safer Communities Fund (SCF)

"It sees assets confiscated from criminals through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) diverted into positive local initiatives such as this and is very much in line with my continued commitment to confronting key issues like knife crime.

"Education and awareness raising has a huge role to play in changing behaviours and this cash injection will help ensure that 100 young people receive one on one interaction with the right people across different agencies.

"It focuses on those who are most likely to be impacted by knife culture and gives them the knowledge, insight and confidence to avoid being wrapped up in a lifestyle that can so often end with disastrous consequences.

"This is just one aspect of the wider collaborative work being carried out through my office on the theme of serious and violent crime. For instance, we are currently pressing ahead with a number of other projects under the national Early Intervention Youth Fund (EIYF) after our successful bid has brought in an additional £1.1 million to help tackle violent crime in the county."

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© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019