Knife crime hits seven-year high as more youngsters found carrying knives in Weston
- Credit: Archant
Knife crime has hit a seven-year high across Avon and Somerset, but police officers in Weston are working to tackle the issue.
Ministry of Justice statistics show criminals were cautioned or sentenced for knife and offensive weapons offences in Avon and Somerset on 522 occasions in the year to September 2019 - the most since 2012.
The figure includes possession of, or threatening with, a knife or other offensive weapon.
In Avon and Somerset, people aged 18 or under accounted for 20 per cent of sentences or cautions for knife and offensive weapon crime in the 12-month period.
Inspector Jess Aston told the Mercury: "Knife crime continues to hit the headlines across the UK, with a number of high-profile cases also taking place in Avon and Somerset recently.
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"Some of these incidents have involved young people, and it may seem that carrying a knife is normal. Thankfully, it's not - in reality 99 per cent of young people don't carry knives, and the cases you read about are usually isolated, involving people who know each other.
"However, young people can face pressure from their peers and they may start carrying knives to feel safer or because they hear groups boasting about carrying and feel they need to do the same."
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In Weston, police are working in partnership with Resilience Voyage, an organisation which works with young people to help them understand their feelings, improve how they communicate and give them the tools to make better decisions.
Over the coming months, more than 150 young people from the Bournville estate and wider communities will attend sessions on Resilience Voyage's bus.
Police will also deliver age-appropriate workshops in primary schools on topics which are of concern to them and their communities.
On March 13 police will host an event at St Johns Car Park, in Coleridge Road, from 4.30-7pm with partners from North Somerset Council, Addaction, YMCA and Alliance Homes as well as the police cadets.
Insp Aston added: "One of the most important messages we can get out there is that carrying a knife doesn't keep you safe.
"If the people involved in recent incidents hadn't have been carrying a knife then the situations could now be very different.
"Of course we can't do that alone, which is why we are working hard to build links within communities, working with youth and community groups to educate young people on the consequences of knife crime.
"If you are a parent, carer or someone who works with young people, you can play a part too, by talking to them about knife crime and offering facts and support to help them make healthy choices.
"There are lots of myths around this topic too, so talking about the realities of knife crime can help bring home how serious it is.
"Talking about knife crime is difficult but it could save a life."
Childline has information specifically about knife crime and young people can also call the confidential helpline for advice- 0800 1111
The Mix has some straight talking advice, specifically aimed at young people already affected by knife crime
You or your child can report knife crime anonymously at Fearless.
The #Knifefree campaign has stories from young people who used to carry knives and now do not, as well as information about talking to and supporting young people.