I am a Police Officer working in a violence prevention role for Lothian and Scottish Borders Division. I’ve been working with No Knives, Better Lives products for approximately 18 months, both delivering materials to young people and as a ‘trainer-of-trainers’, coaching colleagues and other professionals on delivery.

The beauty of the NKBL program is that it is a very wide collection of resources, which allows colleagues, youth workers, educational specialists and others to tailor activities to their audience. From videos, activities, online content and even the national play,‘Balisong’, all of which we have promoted and used locally.

One particularly excellent component is Mark’s Story, a video, which really makes young people think about the consequences of knife crime.

Mark’s Story is complimented with a Lesson Plan, which motivates young people to really engage with the video, discuss the decisions that were made, explore the alternatives available, and really consider the consequences of knife carrying.

The Lesson Plan acts as an off-the-shelf product, ensuring trained professionals can provide a high quality and engaging input to any audience with minimal preparation time. It is flexible enough to suit smaller groups such as a PSE class or even groups as large as a school assembly.

Another benefit is that it can also be used to ensure a uniform and consistent message, as it is based around the key learning objectives of Reassurance, Risk, Resilience and Responsibility.

As a result, I have strongly encouraged use of the standard lesson when training colleagues and others on use of NKBL materials, ensuring it is available to all of them. I’ve similarly been involved in direct delivery of this lesson to PSE classes locally and schools have recognised the real benefits the lesson delivers, agreeing for it to be delivered to entire school years.

I have seen first-hand how well young people have engaged with it, both the learning they display from having seen Mark’s Story, and their genuine surprise at the facts and consequences discussed through the Lesson Plan.

I have been impressed with various S1 pupils identifying consequences outside of those immediately involved, such as post-traumatic stress disorder for anyone witnessing these events, as well as the tensions and fears these incidents cause to entire communities.

This demonstrates how engaging and comprehensive a product the Lesson Plan really is.

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