New teachers taking up jobs in primary schools could find their pupils carrying a range of weapons, from ball-bearing guns to knuckledusters, into school along with their books and felt tip pens.
Children as young as seven are carrying knives in their bags to ward off bullies, Merseyside police have found. At one Liverpool primary, half of the 10 and 11-year-olds in one class said they armed themselves to feel safe in school and during the journey to and from school.
Superintendent Rowley Moore, of Merseyside police, said: "We're trying to give children the stark message, to make them realise that weapons are not the solution to problems. It could lead to them being injured, injuring another person, or facing prosecution."