Police week of action to raise awareness of the impact of knife crime

Staffordshire Police is backing a national campaign to combat knife crime this week with intelligence-led operations, weapons sweeps, knife amnesty bins, and high-visibility patrols.

Staffordshire Police's anti-knife crime campaign: Ditch the Blade
Staffordshire Police's anti-knife crime campaign: Ditch the Blade

The force has their own campaign, Ditch the Blade, and will be using this week to highlight the impact of knife crime on communities through engagement and advice.

Knife amnesty bins will be available for the safe disposal of knives at Cannock, Burton, Hanley and Longton Police Stations.

Officers and police community support officers will also be reaching out to the public, including young people and parents.

They will be encouraging conversations about the dangers of carrying a knife and providing leaflets for families so they know what to do if they are concerned about their child being involved in knife crime.

And there will be an online forum around knife crime taking place on Wednesday from 7pm 8pm.

Questions from the public will be answered by representatives from the police and their partners and can be submitted in advance ahead of the forum.

Rob Hessell, Chief Inspector at Staffordshire Police, said: “Knife crime can affect families from various backgrounds and areas. It is important we break down the stigma and encourage open and honest discussion on the topic.

“Parents and families can help to prevent knife crime. Speak to your children about the issues, about their thoughts, worries etc around it and encourage open and honest discussion.

“Most young people carry due to fear of others carrying, when in fact the reality is 99 per cent of 10-29- year-olds don’t carry a knife.

“We need to work together - It requires the commitment, not only of a range of agencies, but also of the communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to prevent the loss of life and permanent physical and psychological damage that serious violence can cause.

“If you are worried about a child and think they are involved with knife crime, visit our website for advice.”

Chit Chat 4 U, a group who support families of those who are victims of or involved in gangs, youth violence and knife crime, is supporting the Ditch the Blade campaign.

Larissa Cooke from the group said: “The Chit Chat 4 U group want to help to highlight the impact that knife crime can have on the whole family

“Parents from our group who have lived experiences have shared their stories, which shows it can happen to any family.

“We want to encourage open and honest discussions about knife crime to break down the stigma and stereotypes often associated with this.”

Rob also adds the dangers of carrying a knife and what the consequences could be: “When you carry a knife, you are risking everything. Prison, being a victim of crime and even ending up in hospital are all real risks. Beyond this, knife crime has devastating personal effects on you, your friends and your family.

“While some young people pick up a knife to feel safer, they don’t realise that carrying it makes them more likely to get into serious danger. A knife can escalate things way out of your control, and make a bad situation much worse.

“If you are worried that a friend may be carrying a knife or you feel like you are being pressured into doing so, there is help available.”

Advice and information on the Ditch the Blade campaign can be found at staffordshire.police.uk/ditchtheblade.

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