Nottingham’s children are to benefit from a brand-new offering to teach them more about the dangers and consequences of knife crime.
The Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire Violence Reduction Partnership has worked closely with Nottinghamshire Police, Nottingham City Council’s Safeguarding Children Partnership, Nottingham City Youth Justice Service and the wider education sector have teamed up to launch new knife crime guidance for schools across the city, ahead of Operation Sceptre this week.
A collection of new age-appropriate lessons plans focusing on knife crime have also been drawn up and made available for primary and secondary schools to add to their curriculum as part of the joint offering.
Aimed at children in Years 6, 7 and 10, the resource teaches about the dangers of carrying a knife, how doing this could lead to life-changing consequences, and what to do if they know someone has one.
The lessons also focus on a range of other topics like people’s rights around stop and search, and are designed to be led by teachers, to complement the existing knife crime sessions being carried out in schools by specialist police officers, which will continue.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said:“The coming together of designated safeguarding leads from schools and colleges in Nottinghamshire illustrates the importance of tackling knife crime as well as demonstrating the understanding that partners have of the issue.
“The newly revised knife crime guidance in schools, which is led by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Violence Reduction Partnership, provides practical advice and information on how we can safeguard and support children and young people with the aim of intervening early and preventing knife crime before it has even started.”
Guidance for schools to follow around educating children about knife crime and how to respond to an incident have also been made available for schools as part of the collaborative work between the police and its partners.
As part of this, the guidance urges teachers to encourage young people to report information about weapon-enabled crime and other offences anonymously, using Crimestoppers’ youth service ‘Fearless’, which has recently been relaunched in the county.
All primary and secondary schools in Nottingham can now access the new resource and guidance, after they were made available in the lead up to a national week of action to combat knife crime – Operation Sceptre – which runs from today (13 November) until Sunday (19 November).
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction Partnership, which is run by Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, also played a role in drawing up the plans.
Erica Doran, Head of the VRP, added: “The new knife crime guidance is an excellent demonstration of the partnership work that has been undertaken between the VRP, the police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner – just some of the many partners who have all contributed towards this.
“Early intervention work around serious violence is key, and important to that is working with children and young people, by engaging with them directly and working with them to find solutions to serious violence and knife crime in the communities we work in.”
The Trinity Catholic School, in Aspley, was among the first secondary schools to trial the new lesson plans, with Head of Drama Sharon White and Assistant Headteacher Tim Pickup teaching the lesson to a selection of Year 9, 10 and 11 students.
Sharon said: “This is such a great resource for all city schools – both primary and secondary – and it’s a really good way of getting these messages out to children to ensure they know what knife crime is, the statistics around it, what it’s like to be stop and searched, and how knife crime can be prevented as well.
“It was a fantastic resource to use, all the students were really engaged and had lots of different questions, and going forward we’ll definitely be looking to share this with our younger students in Key Stage 3 too.”
Another school that has committed to making use of the new lessons is Bulwell St Mary’s Primary School, which already teaches regular knife crime sessions for their Year 6s and has previously arranged visits for students to the ‘Choices and Consequences’ exhibition at the National Justice Museum too.
Janine Turgott, Safeguarding Lead at the school, said: “We are aware a new resource has been made available to primary schools to teach more children about knife crime and the consequences of doing this, and we think it’s a brilliant idea.
“The end of primary school is such an important time in children’s transition to secondary school, with them wanting to impress people to make new friends, which could lead to them getting involved in stuff they shouldn’t.
“This early intervention is so important to helping them understand the consequences of carrying a knife and avoiding getting themselves into dangerous situations, so I think the knowledge given out in these sessions is going to be so impactful and hopefully in years to come we’ll start to see the benefits.”
Janine was one of dozens of Designated Safeguarding Leads from schools across the city to attend a network meeting at the National Justice Museum recently, where the City Council, Violence Reduction Partnership, Nottinghamshire Police, and other partners made them aware of the new offering.
The partner organisations all teamed up to provide this early-intervention in response to the Serious Violence Duty – statutory guidance introduced last year urging councils and local services to work together to prevent and reduce serious violence.
Figures released just before the start of Operation Sceptre showed reports of knife crime in Nottinghamshire had dropped by six per cent in the last 12 months, compared to a four cent rise nationally – with preventative work between the police and its partners in the county contributing to this.
Superintendent Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead, said: “We know the importance of early intervention and engagement in combating knife crime and that’s why we’re really pleased to work with these partners to deliver this universal offer to our schools across Nottingham.
“As part of this offering, we’ve created new lesson plans with our partners for different age groups in Years 6, 7 and 10, and that’s to educate them about the dangers of carrying a knife and the consequences of doing that.
“It is important for people to know however, that these sessions will complement the knife crime sessions already being delivered by our 13 schools and early intervention officers across Nottinghamshire, who will continue their work in secondary schools and colleges.
"The more young people we can provide this education to, the better, so that we can hopefully stop more people from ever picking up a knife in the first place."
Claire Maclean, Schools and Education Safeguarding Coordinator at Nottingham City Council’s Safeguarding Children Partnership, said: “We’ve teamed up with the police and other partners to relaunch knife guidance for schools, with the aim of providing a universal offer of support for schools across Nottingham and to help children make the right decisions around knife crime.
“The main purpose of this guidance is to keep children safe and ensure they have the ability to make informed choices, as well as making schools aware of the tools they have available to do this while they’re working with the city’s children.”
Thomas Cullen, Operational Manager at Nottingham City Youth Justice Service, added: “Children usually come to us in Youth Justice after an act of criminality but increasingly we’re trying to do more and more work around early intervention and prevention, including working with schools, so that we can educate children before it comes to a point of a criminal act.
“We know how important it is, particularly when dealing with knife crime, that children get early intervention, which is why we want to promote this message around this new guidance and resource, so that it goes out to as many primary and secondary schools as possible across the city.”
For more information about Op Sceptre, visit: Operation Sceptre | Nottinghamshire Police
Posted on Monday 13th November 2023