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Moving the conversation around knife crime forward

Our film explores how agencies must listen to young people's voices to help tackle serious violence
Our film explores how agencies must listen to young people's voices to help tackle serious violence

Our work to reduce knife crime and serious youth violence is continuing as our campaign moves into its next phase, with the release of a documentary produced by one of the young people involved in our animation project.

Bristol student Harvey, who made one of the four films created as part of an innovative police youth engagement project, has now made a film exploring how agencies must work together and listen to young people if we are to break the cycle of violence.

In Knife crime: A new way forward, Harvey talks to key professionals in the Avon and Somerset area involved in the delivery of youth and other services, including the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police Andy Marsh, and Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens. He explores the reasons why young people might carry knives, and what support they need in order to have better life opportunities.

15-year-old Harvey said: “What has become clear to me over the course of making this film is the more police really listen to and engage with young people in positive activities, the better these relationships are.

“This project has given me a voice and a chance to learn; we need more. Young people living in deprived areas are the most at risk of getting caught up in knife crime. We are excluded from school and life in general – more than anyone else. If there is to be any chance of solving knife crime, we need to be included.”

Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “This film shows why we must never underestimate our young people. I have been interviewed by many professional journalists over the years but Harvey’s interview was memorable because he wasn’t intimidated by my rank or role. He had questions he wanted answers to and I hope he has found the experience of making this important film a rewarding one.

“We are committed to working alongside all of our partners through the violence reduction units (VRUs) in a meaningful and sustained way to reduce serious youth violence. We will never police our way out of knife crime, but if we continue to engage with young people and listen to what they have to say, we will have a much better chance of reducing the devastating impact of serious violence on our communities.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “This documentary shows that our young people are often wise beyond their years. I was thrilled to speak to Harvey and discuss why some young people might turn to knife crime, and how we can support them to make different choices.

“Police enforcement alone will never be enough to tackle knife crime. The Violence Reduction Units that were set up last year are an example of how the police, health, education and third sector organisations can work collectively to support and engage with our young adults. We must continue such work to ensure young adults are free to enjoy life without the fear of challenging confrontations as a result of knife crime.”

The documentary features a music track called The Cycle which was specially written to accompany the film.

Co-author of the track, Gh0$t, aged 26 said: “My main motivation for this track stems from my past. It actually drove me to write and work on this project because I felt I could relate to what these young people go through on a daily basis, but I also wanted to portray the message that you can still make a difference and become something that no one believed you could be.

“Working on this police project wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be. I’m all for rooting for good causes and everything this project stands for. The production of the track went smoothly, there was lots of communication, professional input and creative ideas.”

Alex Howard, Lead Tutor at the Trinity Community Arts Centre in Bristol said: “I was really keen to be involved in this project from the outset. Using the topic of knife crime as a launch-pad to work with inspiring young people to create something positive is an amazingly rewarding experience.

“There are a lot of incredibly talented young people out there so it’s great to see projects like this one give them a platform to express themselves positively.”

You can watch Knife crime: A new way forward on our dedicated web page