By Miriam O’Donkor
Broxbourne council is celebrating the huge success of their anti-knife crime initiative as it is now set to be rolled out across the whole of Hertfordshire. The Hertfordshire police chief has now approved a further £280,000 to be donated to the project. The success of the initiative, which began two years ago, can be attributed to many actions the council has taken, including their work with the SOS St.Giles Trust.
Case workers and reformed gang members working for the trust have been going into schools to give talks and run workshops with young people in the community to encourage them not to carry weapons. Broxbourne council say that there have been awareness-raising sessions at five secondary schools in the borough. So far, 24 young people are now receiving ongoing intensive support and mentoring through different strands of the project which has seen 15,000 attendances over the last year.
But what caused Broxbourne to start this initiative? According to the Office for National Statistics, there has been a 16% increase in police recorded offences involving a knife or sharp object. The Hertfordshire Constabulary investigated over 511 offences involving knives or sharp weapons between 2017 and 2018 – seeing a 123% increase over the last 6 years.
However, Broxbourne is turning things around. Stats from the council’s press office show they’ve seen a 44% decrease in weapon possession. This is evident by the fact that 88 knives have been deposited in their weapons bin since it was installed in March.
Broxbourne’s community safety manager, Nicola Pearce, has been leading the project since the beginning. Together with 26-years-old head of the council, Lewis Cocking she’s been explaining in a video why the scheme has been so successful. Lewis also explains how he makes an effort to work with other young people to lead them away from a path of violence.