SCHOOL children from Coventry have appeared in a powerful video warning of the dangers of knife crime.
West Midlands Police approached Finham Park 2 School to be part of the ‘Coventry Needs Me Alive’ anti-knife crime campaign.
In the film, available to view on YouTube, the young people aged between 11 and 16 talk about the vital role they play in the city – from friendships and family bonds to community work, education and sporting achievements.
Coventry Police Commander Mike O’Hara, said: “The core message is that our young people are important and they make up the city’s future…so they don’t risk that future by carrying a knife.”
The video, recorded pre-lockdown over three days, is part of the force’s ongoing #LifeorKnife drive.
The pupils are featured in everyday situations – at school, at home, and in the city centre.
The script has been based around each child’s skills, abilities and hopes for the future.
The video will be shared on YouTube and Instagram and in schools across the city and beyond to encourage positive anti-knife crime discussions.
Finham 2 was chosen because the teachers and pupils wanted to help spread the anti-knife crime message after they heard reports of knife crime incidents in parts of the city.
All the pupils involved have received Young Person’s Awards from our Chief Constable Dave Thompson in recognition of their contribution.
Headteacher Russell Plester said: “Our students are passionate about their city…we were looking at anti-knife crime images in art and when we asked a group if they would be interested in taking part in the video they jumped at the chance.
“Most of them don’t study drama and have never been in front of a camera before but felt they had something they could contribute. They had something to say.
“Knife crime continues to be an issue across the country, including in Coventry, yet the message to young people is not always easy to get across or effective.
“I believe this video, with young people speaking to their peers, friends and neighbours, will have much greater impact than anything students can study in a lesson or hear from the police or teachers in an assembly.”
Michelle Kennell knows only too well the heartache and devastation caused by knife crime – her brother Daniel Kennell, from Coventry, was fatally stabbed by former school friend Ryan Preston during a fight in 2018.
Preston was jailed for at least 22 years and may never be released.
Michelle and other family members have since established the Daniel Kennell Foundation – a charity aiming to steer young people away from knife crime and support victims’ families.
She said: “Young people need to feel valued.
“We need to celebrate their potential and worth to our communities and creating opportunities to engage them, to give them a focus.
“That’s exactly the kind of thing we’ve been doing during on outreach projects.
“We’ve been getting out there on the streets, speaking to teenagers, and trying to create sporting, music or career opportunities for them.
“Too many young people feel lost or isolated…and that’s when they can turn to gangs, crime and potentially pick up a knife.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson said: “This is an important piece of work in the city. Our young people are our future and making sure they understand that there is never a good reason to carry a weapon, and the consequences if they do is key to tackle knife crime in Coventry.
“This video captures the talent of your young people, and all they will bring to our communities in the future. I’m pleased we’ve been able to make this through Project Guardian.
“We continue to work with young people and partners and this is just one part of a whole approach to tackling violence and trying to help our young people make good life chances.”
Click here more about the Daniel Kennell Foundation.
Click here for more information on the anti-knife crime campaign, help and support and to find out more about what West Midlands Police is doing to combat knife crime.
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