Children as young as 12 making threats with knives in schools
PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:00 17 October 2019
Children as young as 12 are using knives to threaten people in schools as officers target year eight and nine pupils to try to intervene.
Figures released by Norfolk Constabulary have revealed the extent of weapons brought into schools in Norfolk since 2017.
The overwhelming majority are knives, but students have also been caught with knuckle dusters, sharpened fidget spinners, a wooden stake and a pencil sharpener blade in our schools.
The youngest caught with a bladed weapon in the last three years was just seven years old, while the average age is younger than 13.
And while the number of weapons being brought into schools has remained static, more of them are being used to threaten.
Two incidents of threatening with a weapon on school premises were recorded in 2017-18. By the following year there were nine.
Including possession offences, 2017-18 saw 37 offences and 2018-19 saw 42.
A quarter of the incidents are dealt with by the school or another public body, but police have brought charges against four students.
Another five could not be prosecuted as they were under the age of criminal responsibility.
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Police have officers working alongside schools in the Safer Schools Partnership, and have been rolling out educational material warning against the dangers of knife crime and county lines.
Inspector Bex Brown said: "Norfolk does not have a big knife crime problem but we have seen the impact knife crime can have on victims, their families and the wider community.
"By carrying a knife you are putting yourself in much greater danger, and more likely to become involved in a violent situation and get injured yourself.
"Officers from the Safer Schools Partnership have been working closely with schools to educate young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife. Last year we launched a short weapons film, which has been shown in every high school across Norfolk and is available to view on social media.
"The thought provoking film, which was produced with help from young people from local schools, highlights the issues around carrying knives and how easily things can go wrong. We want young people to think about making the right choices as those choices could ultimately end a life or save a life.
"Each year, Norfolk Constabulary delivers 'knife crime' presentations to all year nine students, and 'county lines' presentations to all Year 8 students in Norfolk's 53 state secondary schools and 13 additional educational establishments in the county.
"We also work closely with Norfolk Youth Offending Team to ensure appropriate interventions are put in place whenever offences are committed to prevent further offending by young people."