30th Jun, 2022

West Midlands Police runs #lifeorknife campaign activity week in Coventry

WEST Midlands Police is running a week of #lifeorknife campaign activities in Coventry aimed at young people, parents and teachers as part of Operation Sceptre – a national week of action.

Following a growing number of stabbings involving young people across the West Midlands, Chief Constable Dave Thompson and the Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson pledged there would be ‘a conversation with every child,’ in the region about knife crime.

The #lifeorknife campaign, which has been informed by the region’s schoolchildren, teachers, police officers, doctors, paramedics and members of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Commission, encourages children to talk about knife crime with parents, teachers and peers.

If you’d like to find out more about our anti-knife crime campaign, including how to talk to your child about knives visit this link.

It provides you with information on where to report or talk to someone about knives and where you can anonymously dispose of knives.

It also include lots of information on the devastating impact knives can have to you and others, guidance on how to talk to your child about knives, and resources that can be used in schools.

Signs you might want to talk to your child about knife crime:

  • If they have become withdrawn from the family and school, changed their behaviour, achievement or school attendance
  • If they might have lost interest in hobbies and old friends and now hang around with a new group, staying out late and being vague about where they go.
  • If they have become secretive and defensive, particularly about what’s in their bag and might even told you that they need to carry a knife.
  • If you’ve noticed knives are missing from the house or may even have found one in your child’s bag or coat.
  • These things seem easily explained as part of the difficult teenage years, but it’s still important to talk to them about knife crime.

How to have the chat: 

  • Pick a place and a time where you can comfortably chat together. Your child might be reluctant to talk to you, so it might help to start by watching a relevant video or news article.
  • Ask them if they understand what knife crime is about. Be patient, get them talking, reassure them that they can be honest with you about their fears and worries. You are there to listen and support them.

What you might want to say:

  • You might want to share your own fears about their safety and their future. Tell them that even when they feel they don’t have choices, they do.
  • You might have a story from your own childhood you can share about a time you felt pressured into acting a certain way or a recent news story you could reference.
  • Explain that the bravest thing to do is walk away from a fight, particularly one where someone has a knife. That while walking away is never easy, it’s easier than getting seriously hurt or being responsible for killing or injuring someone else.
  • You might want to discuss excuses your child could use to help them walk away, such as ‘I have to go and pick my little brother up,’ – or decide on a ‘code’ where the child can message you asking you to call them so that they can use your call as an excuse to walk away.
  • Reassure them by saying many young people don’t carry knives.

The James Brindley Foundation:

The James Brindley Foundation exists to bring an end to youth violence, and to engage and empower young people to make positive changes for a better life.

Find out more about the work they do and how they’re supporting West Midlands Police’s campaign here.

You can find out more by visiting West Midlands Police knife crime page and join in the conversation on social media using #lifeorknife.

You can also find out more independent advice and anonymously report knife crime online by visiting Fearless.

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