The 15th to 21st May was knife crime awareness week organised by the Ben Kinsella Trust.
Ben was just 16 years old when he was stabbed to death in a horrific act of senseless violence on 29th June 2008.
He had been celebrating the end of his GCSEs with his friends but on the way home he was the victim of an unprovoked attack by a group of older boys who stabbed him to death. Ben was the 17th teenager to be killed in London that year.
His parents set up The Ben Kinsella Trust to promote the prevention of crime and encourage good citizenship and one of the charity’s initiatives is Knife Crime Awareness Week. Its mission is to campaign for action and justice for those affected by knife crime and to educate young people so that they can make positive choices to stay safe.
In recognition of this initiative The MYTI Club invited PC Neil Ware, our Youth Engagement Officer, to talk to the children about knife crime. Groups of ten at a time listened to his talk and were able to ask questions about their concerns about knife violence.
PC Neil Ware at The MYTI Club
Neil explained that it is illegal to carry most knives or any other weapons in public without a ‘good reason or sell them to anyone under the age of 18. Knuckle dusters, for example, are also illegal.
The only exception is folding pocketknives that have a cutting edge no longer than 3 inches and are not lock knives (they do not have a button, spring or catch that you have to use to fold the knife).
There are exceptions; some ‘good reasons’ include using a knife:
· for your work
· for religious reasons, such as the kirpan some Sikhs carry
· as part of any national costume
But the message to our children is don’t carry a knife in any circumstances. Even if you feel you need one for protection the results can be catastrophic.
Police reported 49,264 knife crimes in 2022 up 46% from 2012. 99 young people (under25) were murdered by a knife or sharp object last year, 13 were under 16.
This photograph below shows some of the knives Surrey recovered from an earlier knife amnesty.
Neil’s visit was part of Operation Sceptre, a national campaign which takes place twice a year, supporting the work Surrey Police carry out all year round to ensure residents are safe from knife crime in their community.
Whilst knife crime remains relatively low in Surrey, in comparison to other parts of the country, Surrey Police is committed to doing everything possible to tackle serious violence to ensure Surrey is a county that is safe and feels safe.
Their officers undertake a range of activities including targeted operations, engagement and education to reassure young people they are safer not carrying knives, and to walk away from harm.
PC Neil Ware is a regular visitor to our club and is well known to all our members. He and his colleagues have ensured that the image our children have about a police officer is someone who is approachable and friendly rather than someone to be feared.