Knife crime education sessions in Swindon and Wiltshire schools

By Barrie Hudson - 21 November 2023


“What would you do if someone you know is carrying a knife? Would you tell someone?”

These were among the questions asked as part of the Blunt Truth workshops - knife crime awareness sessions delivered to schools across Wiltshire as part of the Op Sceptre campaign.

The hour-long sessions, involving members of Wiltshire Police and the NHS, teach children about the possible life-long consequences of carrying a knife and what to do if a friend or family member is stabbed.

The workshops also encourage young people to report through their school, the police or through FEARLESS (youth arm of Crimestoppers) if someone they know is carrying a knife.

Schools across the county hosted Katie Rix, an ED Paediatric Senior Sister with the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and the team from Wiltshire Police's Youth and Early Intervention unit, who delivered the workshops.

The Blunt Truth sessions will continue for the rest of the year and into 2024 across schools in Swindon and the rest of Wiltshire.

PCSO Jonathan Akehurst, a youth and early intervention officer who helped to deliver the sessions, said: “These sessions are vital in allowing us to educate young people on the dangers of carrying knives, how they can save their friends’ lives and where they can turn to if they need help and support.

“The students were all very engaged in the sessions and hopefully we have equipped them with the tools they need if they find themselves in a situation, perhaps walking home after school, where someone is stabbed and they need to report it and apply medical first aid.”

Pupils from Year Nine were shown a video highlighting the different outcomes of either reporting someone they know to be carrying a knife or the potential tragic outcomes if they don't.

PCSO Akehurst also talked to the students about the situations they could find themselves in and who they could talk to if they were worried about friends or relatives.

Sister Rix led the students in first aid training for victims of knife wounds, with pupils taking part in practical demonstrations.

She also shared her experiences of treating patients who had been stabbed, including her work in the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The initiative is part-funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Wiltshire and Swindon PCC Philip Wilkinson, who attended one of the sessions, said: "Whilst the majority of young people won't be involved directly in knife crime, these sessions make them aware of the dangers of carrying knives and gives them tools to make the right decision if they ever find themselves in difficult position of having to report someone they know who's carrying a knife.

"It shows why funding workshops like these and working closely with our partners in the NHS is worthwhile."


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