Secondary school to introduce amnesty bank following rise in knife crime across Sheffield

Parwood E-Act Academy, in Sheffield

Parwood E-Act Academy, in Sheffield

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An amnesty bank is being introduced at a Sheffield secondary school as part of a project to help cut knife crime across the city.

Parkwood E-ACT Academy has launched a partnership with South Yorkshire Police and charitable organisations to run a series of talks and workshops after knife crime involving 14-24-year-olds rose by 28 per cent in Sheffield in the last year.

Headteacher Victoria Simcock

Headteacher Victoria Simcock

An amnesty bank will also be in school for two weeks so students can dispose of everyday items which can cause damage, such as laser pens, lighters and aerosols.

Nationally, knife crime involving 14-24-year-olds in the UK has risen by more than 15 per cent.

Headteacher Victoria Simcock said the school, in Shirecliffe, was delighted that it had been approached to launch the project in Sheffield.

She was keen to stress that although knife crime was not a problem at the school, it was of the 'utmost importance' to educate youngsters on its dangers following the increase in knife-related incidents.

She said: “Knife crime nationally is on the rise and it is rising more quickly here in South Yorkshire than across the rest of the country. This is a real concern to society.

"As headteacher, my job is about achieving educational excellence in terms of results for Parkwood students but as importantly I have to enable and empower Parkwood staff to grow and develop responsible young people who understand and are aware of the social dangers. We need to know they can keep themselves safe.

"This partnership will allow us to be proactive in keeping young people safe. It is the 'right thing to do'.

"Nobody fully understands the scale of the problem either nationally or locally but this will enable us to open the debate with our young people”

Over the summer term students will attend a series of workshops and talks on knife crime with representatives from the police, Guns and Knives Take Lives, No Point Programme and Street Doctors.

Mrs Simcock has written to parents informing them of the new partnership.

She wrote: "I am delighted that we have been approached to pilot this approach to educate young people and whilst we are not the first school in the country to work in partnership with other agencies, we are the first in Sheffield.

"A key educational feature of this programme is to focus on those everyday items that at first may not be considered particular danger, but when used irresponsibly can cause significant damage. This may include laser pens, lighters and aerosols.

"For this reason we will be setting up an amnesty bank within the academy for two weeks so that our students can make a positive statement by disposing of such items."

South Yorkshire Police Inspector Louise Lambert said: “Over the next two weeks we are working with Parkwood Academy to raise awareness and educate pupils of the dangers of carrying knives and the serious and fatal consequences that can arise as a result of using them.

“As well as SYP delivering talks and presentations to pupils, the charity Fearless will also be attending as part of the project at the school, to promote how crimes can be reported through Fearless and to offer further information and assistance.

“A knife bin will also be placed at the school for any pupils to safely dispose of a bladed article without fear of getting into trouble.

“We want our young people to be fully aware of all the facts around knife crime, and reinforce the devastating impact it could have not only on their lives, but on their friends and families.”

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