Northumbria PCC Kim McGuinness launches knife crime awareness programme

Young people across the region are heading back to school this week. The goal is to teach them the potentially deadly consequences of going outside armed with a blade.

It follows a spate of shocking deadly attacks in recent years which senselessly killed two boys aged 14 and a 15-year-old girl.

The Northern Echo: Clockwise from top right: Gordon Gault, Tomasz Oleszak, Connor Brown and Jack Woodley, who all died from stab woundsClockwise from top right: Gordon Gault, Tomasz Oleszak, Connor Brown and Jack Woodley, all of whom died from stab wounds (Image: Contributors)

Read more: The Northern Echo calls on the Prime Minister to take urgent action on knife crime

Now interactive sessions in schools and youth groups focus on why young people might carry a knife, the law and the devastating impact of knife crime.

Tanya Brown, whose son died after being fatally stabbed in 2019, said: “Knife crime is on the rise among our young people and we must continue to convey these messages.”

“The aim is to prevent knife crime and educate young people to help save another family suffering the unbearable loss of a child.”

The Northern Echo: Kim McGuinness with Tanya and Simon BrownKim McGuinness with Tanya and Simon Brown (Image: Northern Echo)

Tanya, from Sunderland, who set up the Connor Brown Trust in memory of her son to educate young people about knife crime, is part of the Northern Echo’s North East Knife Crime Taskforce, which is campaigning to raise the issue as part of the ‘North East Knife Crime Taskforce” is taught in schools National curriculum.

Continue reading: The North East Knife Crime Taskforce is calling for the topic to be included in the curriculum

The new education program from the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, which is also part of the taskforce, follows the launch of the powerful Knives Impact Everyone campaign.

Unveiled last month, it features emotive graphics on buses, subway stations, billboards and kiosks, as well as online, to reach as many young people as possible.

Tanya said: “Knife crime may not fit into the academic structure but it is vital to a child or young person’s future.”

“Knife crime affects everyone and if you haven’t been directly affected by it, you undoubtedly know someone who has.”

“Knife crime awareness is vital and I would urge all schools to support the VRU and other organizations who deliver these specially designed workshops.”

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The key message of the new sessions is: “Knife crime cuts deep.” Whether you are a carrier or a victim, the consequences impact everyone; Family, friends, emergency services and communities.”

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Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: “I don’t want to see any more families suffer the heartache of losing a loved one to this terrible crime.”

“That’s why this early intervention is vital to ensure young people understand that their actions can have a devastating impact on so many.

“We need to continue to give young people the right messages so we can support them to make better decisions for their future.”

Training is also available to those working with young people to help them have these early conversations and provide the right support by understanding issues surrounding knife crime that could increase a person’s vulnerability.

For further information contact the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit by email at Northumbria PCC Kim McGuinness launches knife crime awareness programme

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