All Year Six primary school pupils across Notts are to be offered a new education programme addressing risky behaviours associated with knife crime, hate crime, drugs and alcohol. It comes during the Op Sceptre week of action on knife crime, including a knife amnesty.

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The above images were taken during OPERATION SCEPTRE: The first of over 1,600 schoolchildren were given education workshops on knife crime at the National Water Sports Centre during a week of action on knife crime starting today. It included the chance to try out a police "knife arch" and "knife wand". #opsceptre

Over the ten one-hour sessions, The DARE 25 programme will equip youngsters - aged 10 to 11 - with increased awareness and allow them to practice strategies to make better decisions and reduce the risk of harm.

Using a range of teaching methods from role play, video content and interactions, it will cover bullying, peer pressure and the use of social media and show young people who they can turn to for help and how to avoid flashpoints for violence, abuse or other harmful behaviours. 

A total of £308,000 funding has been allocated to the programme over three years - allowing charity Life Skills Education to offer it to all schools for 50% of its cost. It starts in September and it is hoped that as more schools sign up it could become self-sustaining in the longer term.

Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “The programme will address the aim of the Nottinghamshire Knife Crime Strategy to work even more closely with schools to ensure knife crime is addressed appropriately and reduce the likelihood of young people offending.

“We believe that if young people are given the skills to understand knife crime - the causes, the triggers and the impacts – they can think ahead in a safe, classroom environment about how they might act to avoid getting into dangerous situations. It means if they are ever presented with such a situation in real life they don’t jump in without thinking because they already know how to react.

“Skills like this could be extremely valuable in preventing knife crime and reducing incidents in the long-term. 

“The programme will also address our hate crime prevention work in primary schools which will be a substantial step forward, especially post the Nottingham Citizens’ study last year, which found more than a third of Nottingham residents surveyed had experienced hate crime (35%).

“Again better awareness at an earlier age can have a big impact on the rest of people’s lives.”

The DARE programme has a 25-year history of delivering drug and alcohol awareness in schools across Nottinghamshire. The DARE 25 programme, named to reflect this anniversary year, has been specifically tailored to have a focus on knife and hate crime, whilst retaining its some of its input on drugs and alcohol.

Peter Moyes, chief executive Officer at Life Skills Education, said: “At the heart of the DARE programme is our unique decision making model which young people apply to different risky behaviours. Through social and emotional learning experiences young people during ten one-hour sessions gain confidence in recognising and dealing with risky behaviours. They learn and practice strategies to help them make better decisions which reduces their risk.

“They also learn about who to go to for help and how to better communicate with those who may be applying pressure to them to participate in risky behaviours. We specifically cover bullying, peer pressure and the use of the internet increasing their resilience to being victims or offenders of online abuse in its widest possible sense including online hate crime.

“Our all-new programme will include the knife crime elements, hate crime and they will blend with the drugs and alcohol themes traditionally found in our programmes. The programme as a whole will build resilience to crime in the young people who graduate, help them find the right support if they do fall victim to crime and impact on the local communities through a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Paddy Tipping, Police and Crime Commissioner, said that he was pleased to have funded the programme, adding: “This is an important part of the countywide Knife Crime Strategy and will boost the work already under way to discourage young people from getting involved in a life of violence and crime.

“The earlier we can help children to use their energies in a positive way rather than violence and offending the more successful the results will be.

“That’s why I’m pleased to support this programme which will help those aged 10-11 understand the consequences of different types of crime on themselves and those around them. Just as importantly it will help them understand what to do and who to turn to if they become a victim of crime.”   

Comments   
0 # Peter Moyes 2019-09-20 18:42
We are hoping that schools will see this as a great opportunity. We would encourage all parents and teachers to be asking for the programme in school.
Young people need all the help they can get to deal with a wide range of pressures that they face and a proven and effective programme is a gift.
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