Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
01234 842208
Students sound off about knife crime at radio workshops funded by the OPCC
Bedfordshire Police hosted a series of knife crime workshops last week, working with around 200 pupils from over 20 schools across the county.
Run by Collaborate Digital and funded by Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, the series of workshops aimed to educate young people about the dangers of carrying a knife by asking them to script and record a radio advert aimed at other young people. In the New Year, the force will host the radio adverts online so the public can vote for a winner. The winning school will be invited to Police Headquarters to be presented with certificates.
The workshops come as the force continues to work with young people across Bedfordshire following an increase in knife crime related incidents. During two days of action at the beginning of November, officers conducted a weapons sweep of Addison Park in Kempston and the surrounding areas and recovered seven knives and a claw hammer.
The force is also continuing to work with retailers in the county, conducting test purchase operations to ensure that retailers know the laws around knives and young people.
Superintendent Juliette Everett, the force’s lead for knife crime, said: “Nationally, in the last year knife crime and knife related incidents have risen by 26 per cent. In Bedfordshire, it has risen by 46 per cent. Therefore, knife crime is a priority for the force, as we understand this increase is concerning for our communities and it’s important we address this.
“Working with our young people to educate them about knife crime is a key part of our approach. These workshops build on work that’s already been done by our dedicated Schools Liaison team, who have been working closely with schools to deliver sessions on knife crime over the past few months. The workshops proved really successful and were a great opportunity for us to work alongside our partners and young people, with the pupils coming up with some fantastic and really creative ideas. I hope this is something we can continue with more schools moving forward.”
Millie Fulcher, Head of Year 8 at Denbigh High School, attended one of the sessions with five pupils and said: “We’re always looking for opportunities for our students to be leaders, so the five pupils who attended the session will now deliver an assembly to the rest of Year 8 about what they’ve learned. The session has opened their eyes to the issue of knife crime and made it more relatable to them, and they’ve found it really useful. They’ve never recorded with a microphone before, so recording the radio ad was a great experience.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway, who funded the series of workshops, said: “There has been a disturbing rise in knife crime in Bedfordshire over the last year and, in particular, in the number of reports reaching me of young people carrying a knife, often stating that it’s for protection rather than to cause a crime. I’ve also heard myths suggesting that a single small blade cannot cause a death if used in a stabbing. As a result, I’m backing initiatives throughout the county to properly educate young people around the horrific realities of knife crime and the penalties that accompany the use of knives in violent crime.
“It’s time to stamp out knife use in this county and prevent the violence that threatens those who should have their entire lives ahead of them. That’s why my office has invested in Local Area Profile (LAP) reviews of gangs in Bedfordshire and why I’m investing in Knife Crime Workshops, to try do all we can to turn this around.”