‘Tackling knife crime is a priority’ Northumbria Police launch important campaign in the North East
Emotional graphics are being displayed across the region, to help people understand the consequences of knife crime.
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A campaign to prevent knife crime tragedies has been launched in the North East by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness and Northumbria’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).
The ‘Knives Impact Everyone’ campaign highlights the devastating consequences of carry a knife, and will point people in the direction of support and advice available.
The emotional graphics, which feature unanswered text messages, will be plastered across social media, as well as on buses, billboards and kiosks.
Words on the campaign graphic read: “Knife crime cuts deep. Whether you’re carrying or you’re a victim, the consequences impact everyone; family, friends, emergency services and communities”.
The campaign has been designed with input from school children across the region, who are all keen to end violence that has impacted and ruined lives in the region, especially in recent years, which has sent shock waves through local communities.
In 2019, McGuinness set up the region’s first Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), which works with a range of services and youth organisations to help young people understand the causes of knife crime and how to prevent it.
Since then, the education team at the VRU have delivered 1270 knife crime awareness sessions to 34,676 young people. Knife crime training sessions have also been delivered to 3016 practitioners across the region.
McGuinness said: “We must reach kids with the right messages and the right opportunities – that’s how we prevent any more lives being lost in the North East.
“I don’t want to see another family go through the devastation of losing a loved one to knife crime. We’ve seen some incredibly brave families go through the unthinkable and we must put our all into stopping history repeating itself.
“Worried parents, teachers, police officers, not to mention so many young people themselves – everyone is desperate to put an end to senseless stabbings. Hundreds came to the memorial match for Tomasz – so many young voices were making it crystal clear - they don’t want there to be a senseless stabbing ever again and that’s why we made sure we engaged with kids when designing this.
We need to understand the issue and we need them on board. We need real change and we have listened to these voices. I want to make it clear though 99% of kids don’t carry knives but there is 1% that do, and we must reach them, we must stop them.”
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She continued: “This campaign must powerfully push out our message alongside all the youth work, the interventions, and the wider family support we are offering. I want young people to know of the consequences, know not to carry and a knife and know they need to report knife crime and how they can get support. For every person we dissuade from carrying a knife that could be potentially life-saving – so this campaign is incredibly important.”
Chief Superintendent Helena Barron, of Northumbria Police, said: “We very much support the campaign from the Violence Reduction Unit and welcome any initiative which helps highlight and reduce the devastation knife crime can cause.
“Knife crime is a complex issue and one each and every one us has a responsibility to help tackle.
“I hope this campaign will make people realise the potential consequences of carrying a knife or weapon – not only could you take away someone else’s future and cause untold pain to their loved ones, but also ruin your own life and those of your family and friends.
“We would urge anyone who does carry a knife to think again and stop.”
She added: “Tackling knife crime is a priority for us and we have officers, staff and volunteers working every single day to reduce the impact of this type of offending.
“From knife searches, targeting suspects, patrolling key locations and helping educate young people about the dangers of carrying weapons – we are committed to playing our part.
“We also work with our partners, through diversionary schemes and the Violence Reduction Unit to prevent people getting involved in this type of offending and steer them away from crime.
“We would also continue to ask for your support – for families to have conversations about the impact carrying a knife can have, and if you know someone takes a weapon out with them please report it to the police so we can take action.
“Our region is an incredible place to live and work, with a fantastic community spirit and by all pulling together we can make a difference.”
To report someone who carries a knife or to share concerns around knife crime, please visit the Tell Us Something page of the Northumbria Police website or call 101. Alternatively, you can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
To find out more about the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit and the ‘Knives Impact Everyone’ campaign, please visit the campaign website.