Walsall officers warning youngsters against the dangers of knife crime

With young people back at colleges and schools, officers in Walsall have been out and about checking they are safe and speaking to them about some of the dangers they may face.

For many youngsters, the last few weeks have been an adjustment since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

The St Matthew’s team has been involved in a number of activities aimed at warning them about the dangers of knife crime, exploitation and abuse.

Officers have been asking people to "look closer" by increasing awareness of the signs that someone may be at risk of exploitation or abuse.

They have also been conducting weapon sweeps and have used a knife arch and wand to check people heading into eateries and those in and around the bus station. As well as speaking to young people about the dangers of knives and sharing details of the #lifeorknife campaign, they let them use the knife wand on each other.

Over the last week, police have recovered five weapons which have been taken off the streets and will be destroyed. They have gathered intelligence which has been fed into the systems and arrested a 44-year-old woman for possession with intent to supply class A drugs and possession of an offensive weapon. She’s been bailed pending further enquiries.

They have also been holding a number of pop up surgeries within the town centre for residents and businesses to come and share any concerns they have.

Sergeant Liz Cope from the St Matthew’s neighbourhood policing team, said: “We understand how difficult the past six months have been for everyone, but particularly so for young people. We want to make sure they are all returning to school or college safely and increasing awareness about the dangers of carrying weapons or being abused or exploited.

“We’re keen to engage and speak openly with young people rather than try and lecture them.

“We’ve seen some really positive results and lots of young people who were happy and reassured that we were taking time to speak to them.

“The lads who used the knife wand on each demonstrated how we’re all striving to improve relationships with each other and break down any barriers.

“A number of weapons were found over the last week, but fortunately these are now off the streets. We’ll never give up on removing potentially deadly weapons from our streets or dealing with those who carry or use them. We’ll also continue to share our messages about the tragic consequences of carrying weapons."

For more information on policing in Walsall follow them on Twitter @WalsallPolice or sign up to WMnow at www.wmnow.co.uk

For advice on knife crime, child exploitation or abuse visit the website at www.west-midlands.pnn.police.uk

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