Merseyside Police and its partners have launched a new knife crime campaign #BladeFree to make communities safer for the future.
In recent years we have seen all too often 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 devastated the lives of so many families and friends.
Working with partners including the local councils in Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral; the Police and Crime Commissioner; North West Ambulance Service; Crimestoppers and the National Health Service, the #BladeFree campaign has been created.
The campaign is designed to help young people steer clear of knife crime and violent crime by providing support and opportunity through activities and initiatives such as sport, music, and theatre to build confidence and aspiration and improve practical skills and employability.
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.
Through #BladeFree young people will be directed towards a range of local clubs and activities accessible across Merseyside, which will give them hope, aspiration 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: “Virtually every day we hear on the news about someone, somewhere in the UK, being seriously injured, or killed as a result of knife crime. Loss of life like this is devastating and has a huge impact on families, friends and our communities. Knife crime is a blight on our society and in Merseyside, in the last year four people have died. Their families are still struggling to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones.
“As far as we and our partners are concerned enough is enough. We don’t want people to suffer as a result of knife crime and we hope that #BladeFree, which will run alongside our operational policing activity and other work being carried out in the county to reduce knife crime, will give our young people opportunities and support to steer clear of knife crime.
“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.
“Through the campaign we will provide a central place that details clubs, training opportunities, educational and fun activities that young people can do. #BladeFree will encourage young people to aspire to more and signpost them to opportunities available and role models to look up to.
“We want #BladeFree to be the catalyst for a social movement which not only encourages young people to steer clear from carrying and using knives, but also provides them with the opportunity to prosper and succeed.
“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 – 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.”