A MORI Survey for the Youth Justice Board found that 29% of Secondary School-children, along with 57% of those excluded admitted to routinely carrying knives. Correspondingly, our Hospitals report a rise in ‘stab wounds’ particularly among young males! Knives and the reasons for carrying them, is a self-perpetuating, dangerous trend with horrific consequences. Here are some of the reasons given for their use:-
- Fear and/or self-protection/defence.
- To steal, by threats to harm (often to fund a drug habit).
- Harass, intimidate or even for ‘kicks’
- Peer pressure.
- To command ‘Respect’ and status
The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 … substantially strengthens Schools’ powers to tackle ’violent crime’ by enabling the screening of pupils using ’Arch’ and ’Wand’ Metal Detectors.
Education Secretary Alan Johnson said…”We’re giving Head Teachers the extra powers they need to make their Schools safer for all pupils and staff. If they feel it appropriate they can now both screen and search pupils to prevent weapons coming through the school gates. Parents will welcome the fact that we are sending out a clear message that bringing a knife into school is a criminal offence and will not be tolerated”.
Acting on guidance from Legal Advisers, the Department for Education & Skills can now give directions to schools, that they can screen for ‘knives’ within the Law.
School Powers and the Violent Crime Reduction Act:
Having given a great deal of thought to the extended school powers contained in this legislation, I’m glad to note that the decision to use ‘search powers’ rests with Head Teachers, who would be expected to first consult with School Governors, Parents and Community Leaders, before deciding what is right for their school. Personally, I’m of the opinion that as the ‘School’ is a place of learning…it should initially be tackled on the basis of educating young people in the form of ‘life skills’ to enable the ‘pupil’ to become a responsible member of Society, who does not feel the need to carry a ‘knife’.
Ideally, in the first year of Senior School the pupils be given ‘Weapon Awareness…Be Safe ‘Knife Talks’ to inform and educate. If then a problem arises, then a ‘tough’ search and punish strategy could be adopted. Whilst I whole-heartedly support a ‘tough clear message that knives will not be tolerated in schools‘…I cannot help but feel that parents and teachers should endeavour to solve the problem first through education.
During my campaign to highlight and keep the spotlight on ‘Knife Crime’ I’ve met numerous young people who have expressed their disapproval of ‘Knives’. I’ve been delighted with their responses and opinions along with requests to possibly give talks in the schools they attend! It’s so refreshing that these same young people are not only interested in these issues, but ask me about my Son, Westley with enthusiasm, which is hugely gratifying.
As a Mother that has experienced the severe grief of receiving the worst news that my Son Westley had been murdered…issues such as Safety, Crime Reduction etc., are paramount matters to me. People in all walks of life - children, young adults and the community in general need to feel safe. KnifeCrimes.Org is committed to Preventative Education and supporting those affected by Violent Crime, and to this end, work closely with Parents, Schools, Police, Government to reduce crime and enhance Community Safety.
We will shortly publishing a series of Safety Leaflets on PDF's to download...
Having read the foregoing, we would like to extend an invitation to express your views and opinions. KnifeCrimes.Org would value hearing from any Parent, Pupil or Teacher by sending an e-mail to me at: info@KnifeCrimes.Org
E. & O. E.