South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have joined forces to deliver an educational programme to over 42,000 secondary school children as part of their joint community safety department.
The ‘Guns and Knives Take Lives’ programme was developed to raise awareness of and educate young people on the dangers of guns and knives, and supports the work of Operation Fortify - a county wide police crackdown on serious and organised crime across South Yorkshire.
To deliver the programme, members of the community safety department visit secondary schools to provide a presentation highlighting the reality of the dangers and potentially deadly consequences of carrying guns and knives.
During the hard-hitting presentation, the laws around guns and knives are explained and real life accounts are provided detailing how guns and knives have destroyed lives.
The programme has been delivered to 60 schools since its launch in May 2017 and plans are now in place to roll out the programme to the remaining schools across South Yorkshire, along with new Year 7 groups.
Steve Helps, head of the county’s joint community safety department, said: “Gun and Knife crime has increased in recent years and it is extremely important that we are able to work proactively within our communities to raise awareness, provide support and educate young people on the consequences and impact of guns and knives.
“The responses we have received so far illustrates the positive impact this is having on our communities and I’m looking forward to continuing to roll out the programme to the remaining South Yorkshire schools in the coming weeks.”
Chief Superintendent Una Jennings, Head of Operation Fortify for South Yorkshire Police, added: “Our commitment to tackling serious and organised crime in South Yorkshire goes far beyond bringing offenders to justice.
“Guns and Knives Take Lives allows us to reach out early so that the young and vulnerable understand their choices, and the far-reaching impacts of their decisions.
“The consequences and risks of carrying weapons are incredibly serious and it’s absolutely vital that young people understand the devastation they can cause.”