Officers from Greater Manchester Police deliver knife crime awareness training to 16,000 secondary school pupils
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‘Let’s End the Hurt’ training workshops have been delivered to secondary schools across Bolton as part of Greater Manchester Police’s commitment to tackling knife crime.
During the 2020/21 academic year, Chief Inspector Mike Russell and colleagues from GMP’s Bolton district, engaged with over 16,000 pupils from 20 secondary schools, to help raise awareness of knife crime and the devastating impact carrying a knife can have.
The workshop covers the reasons why young people may feel the need to carry a knife, the dangers of handling knives, the laws around knife crime; as well as providing advice on how to avoid becoming involved in, or becoming a victim of knife crime.
The sessions also provide pupils with an insight into the devastating affect knife crime not only has on the victim and offender, but also their families, friends and the wider community.
Chief Inspector Mike Russell from GMP's Bolton district, said: “The Let’s End the Hurt campaign was developed following recent knife crime incidents in Bolton, when as a team we came together and identified that there was a real need for a high-quality, flexible training package led by the students’ needs. This training differs from any previous packages we’ve delivered in schools, as it focuses on issues and subjects that the young people in our local communities have raised with us.
“We want to ensure that every workshop we do is more current and relevant than the last, and that the campaign continually develops based on the feedback we receive from pupils and teachers. So far, the feedback has been extremely positive; something that we’re incredibly proud of. We've already seen the encouraging impact the training is having on young people as after two of the sessions, two knives were surrendered.”
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the interactive training package was pre-recorded, and includes videos, props and facilitated discussions in front of a group of young people. The training was then delivered in schools by two officers who introduced the video and took questions from pupils throughout the session. Following the training, 913 pupils completed a short survey to help officers establish how effective and well-received the sessions had been - the response was overwhelmingly positive:
96 % of those surveyed thought that the training was beneficial
90 % of young people indicated that they would pass on the key messages from the sessions to their friends and peers
Feedback has been extremely positive from teaching staff too, with one teacher adding:“What a fantastic step forward this is for Bolton, not just in creating community links between schools and the Police, but also in engaging our young people with the dangers of knife crime and responsibility. The sessions were excellent!
“I look forward to seeing how this relationship can develop moving forward.
“Our students were gripped. Thank you, and the Police for putting this opportunity together.”
The ‘Let’s End the Hurt’ campaign is part of GMP’s Bolton district’s continued work to reduce knife crime and serious youth violence. It is a collaborative and engaging training package designed by GMP’s Bolton Partnership Team that delivers crime prevention advice to young people in Bolton.
Following the success of the knife crime awareness sessions, Let's End the Hurt training package has now been adapted to cover a wide range of issues which have been identified by young people, the community and partners, including fear of sexual violence, child criminal exploitation; as well as further training around knife crime.
When discussing the future of the campaign, Chief Inspector Russell, said: “Over the coming months we will continue to work alongside our partners to reduce serious youth violence and will be seeking to provide early intervention opportunities. We will never police our way out of knife crime; we need to engage with young people and listen to what they have to say, as by doing it this way, we have a much greater chance of reducing the devastating impact of serious violence on our communities.
“I believe the training session has given pupils a platform to engage and open up to us, and has enabled us to break down the barriers between young people and the police.”
Reports and concerns around knife crime can be made anonymously through CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111, or by visiting www.fearless.org.
If you wish to report an incident to GMP, please use or LiveChat or online reporting function at www.gmp.police.uk. Alternatively, please call 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.