Knife crime among South Gloucestershire children's biggest fears

February 05 2019
Knife crime among South Gloucestershire children's biggest fears

ONE in seven young people in South Gloucestershire say they have felt the need to carry a weapon.

Members of the area’s youth board, from areas including Bradley Stoke, Filton, Cadbury Heath and Wickwar, all said they felt safe where they live.

But they had concerns over how prevalent knife crime is after seeing news reports or social media posts and get ideas about.

In a survey, the issue came second to mental health in schools, ahead of ending period poverty for local young people, although it was not clear how many children actually had carried a knife.

Three youth board members said that they were aware of at least one young person who had carried a weapon in their school. One person said there was a gang in their area.

Some 2,207 young people from South Gloucestershire were asked if they had ever felt the need to carry a weapon and 302 said yes – one in seven.

Another 147 said they would rather not say.

Among the comments recorded by members of the South Gloucestershire Youth Board were that people saw “what’s happening in London” even if it might not happen in their area and a claim that “working class people are more likely to stab people”.

South Gloucestershire Council officer Vanessa Parkhill said it was unclear how many young people had actually carried a knife.

The authority will be inviting them to a meeting later in the year to hear their concerns.

Ending knife crime was the top priority for young people in the national Make Your Mark survey, and they said the Government needs to do more to “end the epidemic”.

Avon and Somerset police has been keen to emphasise that while knife crime is a serious issue, the reality is 99 per cent of young people do not carry a knife.

A force spokesperson said: “One of the most important messages we can share with our young people is that carrying a knife is not the norm.

However we also know that young people can be under tremendous pressure from friends and peers.

That’s why it’s important that we start the conversation now to make sure they have the facts and support they need to make the right choices.”

Police advice:

*Most people do not carry knives

*Carrying a knife does not keep you safe. In fact you are more likely to come to serious harm when carrying a knife

*It’s illegal to carry a knife, even if it’s for someone else

*Carrying a knife could mean being arrested, going to court and ending up with a criminal record or even a prison sentence.

*There isn’t a ‘safe’ place to stab someone. If a knife punctures an artery anywhere on your body you can bleed to death within five minutes.

Picture supplied by South Gloucestershire Council shows comments made by young people on the subject of knife crime