Rather than demonise knife carrying kids, we must look to offer young people an alternative path

This sobering article reveals a total of 1,144 knife possession offences in schools, where the suspect was a child, were recorded in England, Scotland and Wales last year. The headline bleakly recalls one child as young as six found with a knife in a North London school. The statistics and anecdotes paint a gloomy picture. The reactions are typically built around enforcement (exclusions and escalating to the criminal justice system). The likely reaction to discovering a knife in school would be to exclude the child.  However, a reduction in school exclusions in Scotland over the last decade has been credited as a major factor in keeping children out of reach of gangs and youth crime. 

And other cities have similarly shown that a more considered, preventive agenda, based on a public health approach, does work. 

Successful projects in other major cities, like Glasgow and Liverpool, where the level of knife crime was prevalent, looked to offer young people an alternative to gang membership and the need to carry weapons, such as re-opening youth clubs, creating safe places to play, offers of training and casual , part time or full time work.

Other projects involved sending senior doctors into schools to share their experiences on the front line (where they had experienced first hand the harrowing impact of knife crime) and stimulating classroom debate on risks of carrying knives and dealing drugs. 

Prevention is better than cure, after all. 

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Posted by AskMe Admin