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Clampdown on knife crime in St Helens

Article date - 22 August 2017

A multi-agency approach to tackle knife crime, involving Merseyside Police in partnership St Helens Council and other agencies is underway, after a series of incidents in the borough, some involving young people.
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This approach aims to reduce incidents of knife crime, with an emphasis on education for young people and effective policing.

Four local schools have benefitted from visits by Merseyside Police, including Penkford School, whose Safer Schools Police Officers delivered awareness workshops, keeping vulnerable pupils away from risk and threat.

Meanwhile, the council’s Youth Offending Service held knife crime intervention sessions for the young people it supports, with a visit by a Royal Liverpool Hospital nurse clinician to talk about the dangers and consequences of carrying blades, and his experience of treating related wounds.

Targeted at 13 year-olds and above, the presentation included graphic images of knife wounds, demonstrating the harsh reality knife crime.

Senior council officers have also visited the Ben Kinsella Trust, set up by the family of the 16 year old who was stabbed to death in Islington, London in 2008. The charity is now a leading group in awareness campaigns and knife crime workshops, and the aim is to set up local links in St Helens.

And Merseyside Police has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to tackling knife crime with two recent week-long operations and open land searches, in addition to its day-to-day policing.

Local Policing Inspector, Matt Drennan said: “Our recent efforts are part of an ongoing operation to tackle the issue of knife crime across St Helens. We work in close partnership with British Transport Police and St Helens Council’s Trading Standards to carry out test purchases of weapons to educate retailers about having a responsible approach to selling knives and we use knife arches and knife wands as a deterrent to stop people carrying knives.

"Our commitment to reducing and educating people about knife crime is now part of our daily business, and we work with partners to combat knife crime on a regular basis.

"But we cannot do this alone and everyone has a part to play. We want parents, guardians and schools to help reinforce our message to young people – if you are caught carrying a knife, you are reducing your future prospects. We will act on all information provided by our communities.

"A change in the law now means that anyone aged 16-17 years of aged who is convicted of possessing a knife for a second time automatically receives a detention and training order of at least four months. For anyone aged 18 years or over they will receive a prison sentence of at least six months. The reason for this is that knives kill and people carrying knives are a threat to our communities.

"Anyone with information can call police on 101 or the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Councillor Lisa Preston, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Many parents believe that their own children would never be at risk of carrying a knife or of being attacked with one, but it is vital that all families have honest and open conversations about knife crime and the awful impact it does have.

“In this way, parents and guardians can help prevent any more tragedies occurring in our borough and I’d urge them to do so.”

Tips for parents and guardians:

The facts:

For more information and support on knife crime visit www.noknivesbetterlives.com or www.knifecrimes.org a Home Office approved website with practical advice for young people, parents and professionals.