High Sheriffs in England and Wales support National Crimebeat, a charity that recognises and rewards young people who devise and develop projects aimed at reducing criminal activity or promoting personal safety, both within their peer groups and in their wider community.
Each year National Crimebeat asks High Sheriffs to endorse qualifying projects in their County. This year there were more application than ever before so I am delighted to report that Operation Edge has received a Highly Commended award in the Adult Led category.
Operation Edge was run by Inspector Simon Tabert of the Hertfordshire Constabulary. He worked with a group of secondary schools in Stevenage to run a competition to produce a short film about knife crime. The aim was to increase awareness of the risks and consequences of carrying a knife and thereby to reduce the number of young people who carry knives. The project also supported the gathering of data to measure the impact of prevention activity.
Each school formed a team of students, led by a teacher, to write the script, plan, cast, act and direct their film. Stevenage Cineworld helped organise a “red-carpet” event to show the films and Marriotts School were judged the winners by a panel which included celebrities from the film world. Their winning entry can be seen at https://youtu.be/59jGe-E_aWM
Each school presented their film in assemblies, reaching a large number of students, and those watching also completed a survey that provided Police with valuable data about how many young people view carrying knives, and why.
The project has also led to the Heads of the schools involved working together on programmes on drugs, witnessing domestic abuse and antisocial behaviour. Police contacts continue to work with participating schools to create stronger communities.
You can read an article about the project here
Both pupils and staff at Marriotts were very affected by the film. A staff member involved said “The project was a gateway for conversations around knife crime and gang violence. As a person who has personally been affected by knife crime it was a privilege to play a part in creating something that could possibly save lives in the future.” One of the young actresses involved told me that she had been ‘crushed’ when a family member was stabbed and died during the period of filming. Her message was clear – “Don’t do it – don’t carry a knife”.