South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue have delivered a gun and knife crime programme to over 42,000 secondary school children across South Yorkshire, as part of their Joint Community Safety Department.
The ‘Guns and Knives Take Lives’ programme, was specially developed to raise awareness of and educate young people on the dangers of guns and knives, and supports the work of Operation Fortify, the county wide approach to tackling serious and organised crime across South Yorkshire.
To deliver the programme, members of the department visit local secondary schools to provide a presentation highlighting the hard-hitting reality of the dangers and potentially devastating consequences of carrying guns and knives.
During the 50 minute presentation, information is delivered on gun and knife law, recent statistics, the emotional impact, consequences and real life testimonials, along with details of Operation Sceptre - a national knife crime awareness operation.
Following the success of the programme, which has been delivered to 60 schools in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield since its launch in May 2017, plans are now in place to roll out the programme to the remaining schools across South Yorkshire, along with delivery to new Year 7 groups.
Steve Helps, Head of the Joint Community Safety Department, has commented on the importance of the programme, “Gun and Knife crime has increased in recent years and it is extremely important that we are able to work proactively within our communities to raise awareness, provide support and educate young people on the consequences and impact of guns and knives.
“The responses we have received so far illustrates the positive impact this is having on our communities and I’m looking forward to continuing to roll out the programme to the remaining South Yorkshire schools in the coming weeks.”
Chief Superintendent Una Jennings, Head of Operation Fortify for South Yorkshire Police, added “Our commitment to tackling serious and organised crime in South Yorkshire goes far beyond bringing offenders to justice. Guns and Knives Take Lives allows us to reach out early so that the young and vulnerable understand their choices, and the far-reaching impacts of their decisions.
“The consequences and risks of carrying weapons are incredibly serious and it’s absolutely vital that young people understand the devastation they can cause.”
The Guns and Knives Takes Lives programme complements and forms an element of the work of the Joint Community Safety Department, to provide specialist early intervention services to protect vulnerable people, reduce demand and keep local communities safe.
As well as delivering this tailored intervention in schools, the Joint Community Safety Department also offers bespoke events at the Lifewise Centre in Rotherham and other early intervention services designed for the needs of local communities.
To find out more about the Joint Community Safety Department and the Lifewise Centre, you can visit the website here.