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Merseyside Police and partners across the county have launched a new knife crime campaign #BladeFree to help make communities safer for the future.
In recent years we have seen many people seriously injured or killed as a result of knife crime. Last year alone four people lost their lives in Merseyside due to knife crime, which has devastating effects on the lives of so many families and friends.
Our first stop for #BladeFree week was St Helens Rugby Club where young people can take on various activities and sport.
The #BladeFree campaign has been created by working with our partners, which include all Local Authorities (Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) the Police and Crime Commissioner; North West Ambulance Service; Merseyside Fire and Rescue, Crimestoppers and the National Health Service.
We also visited the Hive Youth Zone on Wirral:
Research has shown that many of those involved in or at risk of being drawn into knife crime, suffer from a lack of aspiration and belonging, often as a result of living in areas with few or no opportunities for young people.
This campaign is designed to help young people steer clear of knife crime and other serious violent crime by providing support and opportunities through activities and initiatives such as sport, music, and theatre to build confidence and aspiration and improve practical skills and employability.
Through #BladeFree young people will be directed towards a range of local clubs and activities accessible across Merseyside, which we hope will give them hope, ambition and opportunity, and most importantly the knowledge and confidence to make the right decisions in the future.
This will be the first campaign for ‘Our Merseyside’, which is a regional initiative to encourage people (young or old) and organisations to work together to bring pride and opportunity to Merseyside and help keep our people and our streets safe.
Anyone, and everyone, can pledge their support to #BladeFree. If you provide services, groups and opportunities that could help young people, please visit OurMerseyside.org. We want people across Merseyside to get behind the campaign as the more activities we can promote, the more young people can get involved.
Assistant Chief Constable Jon Roy said: “We are hugely aware of the impact of knife crime on victims, their families, friends and our communities.
“We don’t want people to suffer any longer and that’s why we are doing everything in our power to reduce knife crime through our operational activity including open land searches, stop searches, targeted operations and high visibility patrols, as well as working closely with our communities, schools and safeguarding partners to tackle the problem by taking a more preventative approach. This is at the forefront of our partnership work within the Merseyside Violence Reduction Unit.
“We often hear that young people feel they have no opportunities, or that they’re bored, that they even carry knives for protection or because it’s deemed the ‘norm’ – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Merseyside is full of passionate people who are doing huge amounts of good work in their local neighbourhoods to educate, divert and influence young people away from knives and other violent crimes and we should do everything in our power to support and share their work.
“The #BladeFree campaign will sit on a central hub, ‘Our Merseyside,’ hosting details of clubs, training opportunities, educational and fun activities that young people can do.
“This is just the beginning – a social movement allowing young people the opportunity to prosper and succeed – by starting this social movement today, we can give young people a better tomorrow.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Using a knife as a weapon ruins lives and has a devastating impact on families. Sadly, we have seen too many times here in Merseyside the tragedy that can unfold when a knife is used to kill or injure. Just carrying a bladed weapon is an offence.
“We know people across Merseyside want to take action to prevent the use of blades of all kinds and #BladeFree will help us to join forces across all communities and age groups. I would ask everyone to use the hashtag, join the campaign, pledge your support, share its messages and play your part in making Merseyside a safer place for all.
“In particular, I would encourage all community, voluntary and youth groups working with young people to get involved. We know you are already doing great work and we want to support you to build a brighter future for young people free from blades and the widespread fear they can bring.”
Councillor Liz Parsons, Cabinet members for communities and partnerships, said: “Every single incident in which a person is killed or injured with a knife is a needless tragedy.
“We need to change the mindset that carrying a bladed weapon is necessary for protection, as the truth is that it actually makes people more vulnerable.
“This is about getting our young people to take part in positive activities that substantially reduces the chance of them making the wrong choices.”
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