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West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson met a group of students from North Birmingham Academy to discuss the dangers of carrying knives.

Knife crime has increased by 75% since 2012 and gun crime has risen by 50% in the same time. In a meeting with 10 students from both years 9 and 10, David Jamieson spoke about the issue and they provided their views on how to tackle knife crime.

Recently, the PCC has invested £2 million into tackling gangs and violence in the West Midlands, this has been spent on initiatives such as gang mediation and educating young people on the dangers of knife crime. The Commissioner backed by local MPs has successfully lobbied the Home Office, and has secured £1.8 million from their Early Intervention Youth Fund to be spent on programmes which divert young people away from crime.

At the school the Commissioner took the opportunity to highlight the impact knife crime is having on our communities. To do this students took part in an activity where they acted as if one of them was a victim of knife crime and the others were family members. They each took it in turns to talk about how they would feel if they were a parent or grandparent of someone who had been a victim, as well as some of them acting as if they were the parent of someone who had committed the crime. This activity highlighted to them that it is not only the person who has been stabbed is that affected but a whole range of people.

The PCC also took the opportunity to address the issue of young people carrying knives for protection. He emphasised to them that actually by carrying a knife you are more likely to be a victim of knife crime. The students responded positively to this and one said that if one of his friends was carrying a knife he would tell them “to put it down”.

The PCC commented that “by doing these activities with students we are able to raise awareness of the impact which knife crime has on communities. I was really impressed with the quality of discussion with the students as they all contributed and all provided me with a useful insight of what young people feel about knives”

One student commented that “people who carry knives are cowards”.

By working closely with schools the PCC is able to directly engage with young people to get a greater understanding of the issue as well as teaching young people about the dangers of carrying knives.

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