Safeguarding events coming to Stevenage schools to tackle county lines and knife crime

PUBLISHED: 09:59 26 January 2020

Police launched a competition, Stevenage Operation Edge last year to tackle knife crime., where students from Marriotts School were presented with a prize by mayor of Stevenage councillor Margaret Notley and Stevenage neighbourhood inspector Simon Tabert. Picture: DANNY LOO

Police launched a competition, Stevenage Operation Edge last year to tackle knife crime., where students from Marriotts School were presented with a prize by mayor of Stevenage councillor Margaret Notley and Stevenage neighbourhood inspector Simon Tabert. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

A new safeguarding initiative aimed at protecting and educating children in Stevenage is being launched across the town this week to tackle a number of issues.

Operation EDUC8 is being rolled out by police to each of the seven senior schools and North Herts College in Stevenage - with the aim to safeguard and inform young people about the threats from county lines drugs, gangs, knife crime, domestic abuse and online safety issues.

Key speakers will be addressing Year 8 and 9 pupils - 12, 13 and 14 year olds - through hard-hitting and thought provoking presentations. Special workshops have been devised to follow the presentations to allow teachers and pupils to explore the issues further and identity any students who may need support.

Officers from the safer neighbourhood teams have been working with teachers and the Education Skill Learning Achievement (ELSA) charity, to organising these safeguarding events, which will run throughout the school year and will then be repeated every year to capture thousands of pupils as they come through the school system.

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The initiative is also being supported by Stevenage Borough Council, which has helped with funding.

Gang violence was the first topic to be tackled and criminologist, urban youth specialist and lecturer at the University College Birmingham, Craig Pinkney, is launching the new campaign by delivering a talk in each school today and tomorrow.

Craig is leading the way in responding to gangs and serious youth violence in the UK. He is a transformational speaker, gang exit strategist, mediator, mentor and filmmaker, and describes himself as bridging the gap between academia and the streets.

Chief Inspector Simon Tabert said: "This is an excellent example of the great work being done by the police and partners agencies in Stevenage. This will protect our younger and more susceptible children by giving them the knowledge to make informed decisions, if ever presented with dangerous choices in the future.

"By utilising different resources and working together we have been able to devise a comprehensive educational programme."

Domestic abuse will be the next subject to be tackled in March, followed by online safety and drug abuse and crime.

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