The NeverChooseKnives rap/video (see below) is a new anti-knife crime message for young people by young people, about the dangers of carrying a knife.
Created by Year 10 pupils from St George’s Catholic School in Southampton as part of the Police Apprentice Initiative, NeverChooseKnives is aimed at nine to 14 year-olds, who are at a transitional stage in life finding themselves facing critical choices and decisions.
The lyrics are dynamic and talk the truths behind carrying a knife, the laws, and how it doesn’t necessarily offer protection but makes you more likely to become a victim, as well as a criminal.
The chorus has a catchy and positive vibe – ‘Stop knife crime now, we’ll show you how, NeverChooseKnives’.
As part of the research the children considered the reasons why young people would consider carrying a knife, with the fear of being attacked featuring high. Other factors were peer pressure and involvement in criminal activity.
A collaborative approach between Hampshire Constabulary’s Strategic Youth Engagement Team, Southampton City Council – as part of their Child Friendly Southampton Strategy, Southampton Youth Offending Service Weapons Against Awareness Group (WAG) and The Saints Foundation.
Last year, 315 children and young people (Under 25) were caught in possession of a bladed implement, in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Over the past three years the Force has seen a year on year increase in this age group caught carrying knives; Southampton recorded 42 in 2016/7, 57 in 2017/18 and 69 in 2018/19.
Using Hampshire Constabulary’s Police Apprentice initiative to run a competition among secondary schools in Southampton, tasking pupils to design a peer-focused campaign to raise awareness of the risks associate to carrying knives.
Titled ‘Street Safe, Street Smart’, the competition was launched back in January of this year as part of the WAG’s strategic response to raise awareness and educate young people.
A panel chose the winning entry – an urban, grime-style rap which cleverly uses this ‘gang-affiliated’ genre of music as a positive messaging tool. The panel largely consisting of young people felt it was really engaging and appealing.
Taylor: Positive response by young people
Speaking about the campaign, Hampshire Constabulary’s knife crime lead, Superintendent Claire Taylor praised the positivity of the youngsters involved in the project around the issues of knife crime, she said:
“It is this positive response by all of the young people involved in the Police Apprentice initiative that can make an impact and change the negative stories we hear around knife crime, and offer reassurance that we’re all working together to overcome this serious and concerning issue of youths carrying knives for reasons outside of criminal intent, like self defence.”
“I’m hopeful that this has raised awareness and provided young people, through their innovative approach the opportunity to help others not to carry and use knives. Thank you to all of those who took part and supported the students through the Police Apprentice Initiative. Please help make this have a really positive impact by sharing their video and using the hashtag #NeverChooseKnives.”
Shields: 100% behind NeverChooseKnives
Councillor Dave Shields, Cabinet Member for Healthier & Safer City speaking about their involvement in the project, said:
“The City Council is 100% behind NeverChooseKnives. One of our top city priorities is to work with our police colleagues and others to tackle violent crime and – especially – the worrying recent rise in knife-related crime. In addition to tougher police enforcement measures with organised crime and county lines we also need to work with proactively schools, communities and young people themselves to say no to knives.”
Baker: Educating on perils of carrying a knife
Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation and Community Partnerships, who are supporting the project, said:
“All of us at Saints Foundation are delighted to be partnering with a number of key stakeholders across the city on this really exciting and important initiative, which, like much of our other work, is designed to support young people in and around Southampton.
“We have really enjoyed being involved in the project, and would like to congratulate the winners for a really brilliant entry, which we hope will educate other young people on the perils of carrying a knife.”
SoCo Music Project
Significant in progressing the creative idea into a reality for these students, were SoCo Music Project. They enabled them to experience the production process and the unique opportunity to be mentored by industry urban artist and social media influencer @ZubyMusic.
Matt Salvage, Director at SoCo Music Project said:
“We are delighted to be part of the #NeverChooseKnives campaign. Helping the talented young people involved to take their eloquent and engaging message out into a wide audience. We look forward to developing this work with the programme’s partners to help more young people be creative, safe and make positive decisions in their lives.”
Carrick: Adults must respect young people as credible partners
PC Maria Carrick, Hampshire Constabulary’s Education and Youth Engagement Coordinator and lead representative for the Police Apprentice Initiative said:
“The focus, creativity and commitment demonstrated by these young people reinforces how fundamentally important it is for adults to respect young people as credible partners by actively including them in problem-solving issues affecting them and their community.
“The NeverChooseKnives campaign captures the aim and ethos of the Police Apprentice Initiative is which is to give children and young people a voice, through an innovative learning experience that gives them the opportunity to develop tangible ways of tackling problems and a platform to be heard.”
The campaign goes live from Monday 16th September on social media and will be accessible to schools on the Safe4Me Website.
News shared by Hampshire Constabulary. Ed