South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police join forces against gun and knife crime

Tuesday, 20 July, 2010

The issues surrounding gun and knife crime, especially where young people are involved, continue to receive national media attention. South Yorkshire Police is committed to reducing the number of youth-related incidents in the region involving guns and knives, and, through a combination of prevention, intervention and education has achieved considerable success through their acclaimed 'Guns and Knives Take Lives' initiative. Success that West Midlands Police and others are hoping to emulate.

In 2005, before the 'Guns and Knives Take Lives' initiative was introduced, 46 per cent of firearms incidents attended by firearms officers in South Yorkshire involved young people, in comparison to just 12 per cent of incidents in 2009.

The success of the initiative, which has clear links to the PSHE curriculum and the Governments' Every Child Matters agenda,has earned the team local and national awards, including the Cutlers Company Award and the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals Certificate of Commendation. The work has also generated much interest among other forces such as West Midlands and Nottinghamshire Police with 2010 seeing South Yorkshire Police deliver six presentations in four Nottinghamshire schools.

The South Yorkshire Police 'Guns and Knives Take Lives' education team consists of ten officers who, alongside their usual core firearms role, deliver the visually impactive, interactive and thought provoking presentation, primarily to Year 9 schoolchildren. During the 2009/2010 academic year, the team delivered the 90-minute presentation in 65 of the 75 secondary schools in the county and since January 2007 have presented to over 50,000 young people.

South Yorkshire Police have now produced a package which is available to every force in the country and West Midlands Police were the first to take advantage collecting theirs on 14 July 2010.

On handing over the product South Yorkshire Police Chief Superintendent Keith Lumley said: "We are justifiably proud of the 'Guns and Knives Take Lives' product that we have developed over the last five years and the success that it has had. So much so, that it is now part of our core Organised Crime Group and Firearms Strategy. As we were receiving more and more interest from other forces to deliver the presentation in their schools, which was not a cost effective or sustainable solution, we decided to produce a package with all the resources needed for other forces to replicate 'Guns and Knives Take Lives' in their force area."

West Midlands Police Chief Inspector Paul Minor added: "We have seen the real impact of this approach in reducing the need to deploy firearms officers to incidents involving young people. I am anticipating that we can translate the successes seen in South Yorkshire to the streets of the West Midlands. I personally experienced the full presentation delivered by South Yorkshire officers and I was tremendously impressed by the obvious interest and engagement shown by the young people and the professional approach taken by the officers."

The Guns and Knives Take Lives package is available for £2,995 +VAT and includes all the slides used in the impactive presentation, appropriate media, booking matrix and professionally produced artwork. In addition, supporting literature provides guidance on strategy, method, implementation, equipment, media and a step-by-step presentation delivery guide.

The pack has everything needed for police forces across the country to replicate the South Yorkshire model, already identified as a model of excellence (Infer Trust 2009). In South Yorkshire, it has proven to help divert young people from weapon related offending providing a sustainable engagement strategy with partners, promoting the safety of young people in local communities and reducing crime.

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