Police launch Operation Edge in Stevenage schools to help tackle knife crime


- Credit: Archant

Police in Stevenage are launching an initiative to tackle the issue of young people carrying knives.

The brainchild of Neighbourhood Inspector Simon Tabert, Operation Edge will see every secondary school in Stevenage taking part in a competition to produce an award-winning educational short film that raises awareness of knife crime and explores the reasons why young people carry knives.

Supported by £8,500 of funding from local councillors and the Safer Neighbourhood Initiative Fund, the schools started making their films at the beginning of the term, aiming to complete them by mid-November. Each film is being produced by a team of pupils from across the year groups.

The films will then be shown to their own schools and assessed by a panel of experts - including TV actor Kevin Whately, Chief Constable Charlie Hall and film composer David Arnold - who will select a winning entry and runners up.

The schools will then be invited to a red carpet screening event at Stevenage Cineworld on January 17, where each film will be shown and the results of the judging process will be announced.

Stevenage police officers have also produced an online questionnaire that will be completed by every secondary school pupil in the town. It will provide data showing how young people in Stevenage are affected by knife crime.

Inspector Tabert said: “I am delighted with the enthusiasm shown by the schools and their willingness to get involved, and I am also really grateful to councillors for the support they have provided.

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“This will be a great way to get young people to really think about knife crime and the consequences. Instead of a lesson, or the police giving a talk, they get to choose the message and the way it is delivered.

“The event in January will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase their talent, and present a positive image of young people and the town.”

Chief Inspector for Stevenage, Alicia Shaw, said: “We take the issue of knife crime very seriously in Stevenage and know we have to find more effective ways to get the message across to young people about the dangers and consequences of choosing to carry a knife.

“I am very grateful to everyone who has supported this venture and I look forward to viewing the films.”