RE: Knife and weapons crime
We recognise that there is significant work ongoing to address the many issues affecting our young people and that schools already play a huge part in this. It is vital that collectively our focus is to prevent and divert young people from being drawn into gangs or weapon-enabled violence. By working together to deter young people, we can better protect them from the increased danger that carrying weapons creates and the life changing punishment they may receive if they are caught.
Across the West Midlands in recent months we have sadly seen a number of incidents involving school age people involved in knife related fights, some with devastating affects where young lives have been lost.
Therefore we ask for your support in elevating the approach being taken to raise the profile of the dangers of knife crime amongst young people. To do this we ask for your support in two ways – by ensuring every pupil is involved in a conversation with their teacher before the end of the summer term to discuss the risk; and ensuring that parents are made aware and encouraged to have difficult conversations to prevent the loss of another young life and the devastating affects this has for all.
We must all come together to protect our young people and help them feel safe, understand that carrying a weapon only increases the risks in many ways and to understand the consequences this can have on many lives. There are so many positive opportunities, diversion activities and support groups that young people can be referred to and we are working with partners and the voluntary sector to make these as visible and accessible for all. The overall aim is to change the mind set and culture so that societally the carrying of weapons is totally unacceptable to all.
To assist our collective efforts, a pack has been created to bring together information and resources suitable for schools to use in addressing the subject with students. The pack includes the following:
For school staff:
- West Midlands Police Weapons in School Guidance for Schools
- DfE Searching, Screening and Confiscation Advice (January 2018)
- Home Office – Preventing youth violence and gang involvement
- A range of lesson plans and online resources
- Advisory letter from West Midlands Police, the Safer Wolverhampton Partnership and the City of Wolverhampton Council
- Home Office Advice for Parents
- Knife Warning letter
Wolverhampton Police wish to thank schools for the excellent partnership work that is already going on across the city, in particular, the Wolverhampton Police and Schools Panel that facilitates the sharing of information and the early identification of those at risk of involvement in offending.
This, in turn has led to appropriate support being put in place at the earliest opportunity. Numerous schools have been involved in a city-wide community safety project to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying knives and encourage students to make positive choices, including hard hitting assemblies, deployment of a knife arch and electronic wands, and also in identifying those on the cusp of offending and risky behaviour to take part in the Respect programme.
If you require any further information regarding Police and Schools Panels or contact with your local Neighbourhood Team please contact PC Di Shepherd at email@example.com.
We will continue to keep this issue as a priority for work with schools to ensure awareness is high among students and parents, and if you have any concerns about a student in your care, please ensure you make these known through the usual safeguarding channels as soon as possible.
Further advice is available from your local Strengthening Families Hub and from the Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children’s Board website, https://www.wolverhamptonsafeguarding.org.uk/.
Chief Superintendent Jayne Meir, West Midlands Police
Mark Taylor, Chair, Safer Wolverhampton Partnership
Councillor Lynne Moran, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills