PC Kenny Blades, Community Safety Officer from Police Scotland, shares his story about working with young people to prevent knife crime in North Lanarkshire.
“As a result of my own observations and support from statistical analysis, I identified an increase in the number of young persons between the ages of 13-25 being involved in knife related incidents in the Cumbernauld area. Furthermore, I was aware that each of the four High Schools in this area previously had issues with knife related incidents some of which had not been reported to the Police.”
Kenny highlighted the importance of stakeholder buy-in for successful partnership working.
“In order to address this issue, I liaised with staff at each of the High Schools, shared my findings and gained their support. I then identified and secured the assistance of key partners such as No Knives Better Lives (NKBL), Medics Against Violence (MAV) and Scottish Ambulance Service to assist me with the delivery. I also identified Peer Mentors within each of the schools and secured their help and support to assist with the delivery of the presentations.”
Discussing the personal risks and consequences of knife crime was a key element of the work, as well as empowering young people to take responsibility for safety within their community.
“Along with the partners, I delivered a series of informative and interactive presentations on knife crime, highlighting the law, facts and consequences to pupils in second to fourth year. Each presentation included a 20-minute video, which provided actual CCTV footage and personal accounts from both victims and offenders involved in knife related violence. Pupils were given literature and signposted to useful websites which provided them with further information and support. Pupils were also provided with an awareness and understanding of Fearless, a branch of Crimestoppers UK for young people, in a bid to encourage and empower them to make their community a safer place through reporting any concerns anonymously.”
Kenny’s involvement and enthusiasm for the NKBL programme has led to further knife crime prevention work being carried out in the area, including school performances of ‘Balisong’, the NKBL play.