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Police chief urges schools to tell pupils about knife crime danger

Police warn teachers and pupils ahead of the summer holidays

TES_KNIFE_WARNING

Police warn teachers and pupils ahead of the summer holidays

A police chief has written to hundreds of schools urging teachers to speak to pupils about the scourge of knife crime ahead of the summer holidays.

The chief constable of West Midlands Police David Thompson has written to every school in the region about the problem, after an increase in attacks.

He is also urging parents to speak to their children about the dangers of knives and challenged youngsters to speak to each other about carrying a blade.

Last month Ofsted’s regional director for London Mike Sheridan announced plans to ask schools and further education colleges across the capital about how they are keeping pupils safe from knife crime and how they educate pupils about the problem.

Tes has previously revealed that more than a quarter of secondaries in the capital have taken up the offer of free knife-detectors from London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

There has been a spate of deadly knife-crime incidents nationally, and two teenage boys were fatally stabbed in the West Midlands in recent weeks.  

Keelan Wilson, 15, died following an attack in Wolverhampton just yards from his front door, and Ozell Pemberton, 16, was knifed in the chest in broad daylight in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham.

Mr Thompson said: "We need to come together and make sure these awful tragedies are not in vain and to stop them from happening again."

He said the problem would not be solved by police "telling people" what to do, and that a "big conversation" was required.

The chief constable and the police and crime commissioner David Jamieson were visiting Holte School in Lozells, Birmingham, where pupils and teachers have been challenging knife crime.

With the support of parents and governors, pupils are randomly searched using knife wands, to ensure no weapons are brought onto school grounds.

As a result, there have been no knife-related incidents at the school for a considerable period, in an area of the city which has in the past witnessed outbreaks of deadly gang-connected violence.

Children were also shown a hard-hitting five-minute video showing the dreadful and deadly consequences of carrying a knife.

Pupil Hashim Tanveer described the video as "eye-opening".

"Everyone underestimates the power of a knife," he said.

"If they wanted to protect themselves, they'd carry a shield, but they're out there to attack people – that's why they carry a knife."

Classmate Raqaiya Begum said: "I didn't feel safe watching that video.

"It helped me understand people everywhere in the country, even in your own local community where you grew up, carry knives around with them.

"That makes you feel unsafe because you feel like your own society is threatening you."

She added: "By having that intention (to carry a knife), you want someone to be dead, you want to harm someon. They don't understand the consequences."

The youngster described the knife searches as "a good thing".

Andy Oliver, deputy headteacher, said "99.999 per cent of pupils" were taking the anti-knife crime message to heart.

He added: "We believe it is a battle we can win here, because we believe we are winning it here.

"We've had no knife crime-related incidents here for a long, long time now, so we believe in our setting we are winning, but it's going to be an on-going battle.

"It's going to be a long war but ultimately I believe it can be won."

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