A programme aimed at educating young people about knife crime has been paid for with money seized from criminals by Merseyside Police.
The ‘Knives cost Lives’ project, which is held at Hillside Community Centre in Huyton, was launched in December 2018 and received £19,900 from the force’s Community Cashback Fund. The fund allows money seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act to be reinvested back into the community.
Knives cost Lives is just one of a number of programmes held at the community centre, and over the past few months has allowed young people to take part in a whole host of activities such as a visit to the Knife Angel statue at Liverpool Cathedral, presentations from a surgeon at Liverpool Royal Hospital, activity days and visits to local police stations to help break down barriers between young people and the police. A residential trip to Yorkshire was also organised where young people took part in workshops about the law, consequences, weapons, social media pressures, associations, life choices and those that have lost their lives to knife crime.
Berna Thompson and Teresa Cuddy, who run the programme alongside a number of volunteers, have also organised an educational event for parents, which will take place in the upcoming months.
Assistant Chief Constable, Jon Roy said: “It’s fantastic to see how many young people are benefiting from the Knives cost Lives programme, which not only offers plenty of activities to keep them off the streets, but educates them too.
“We know the devastating effects knife crime can have on our communities and so programmes such as this one are essential. It is great that the force is able to support such projects through the community cashback fund and it was an absolute privilege to meet Berna and Teresa, who have run activities such as this in Huyton for almost 20 years, along with the dedicated volunteers that help with the project.
“Their commitment to the communities of Huyton is evident and the work they are doing to educate young people about knife crime is invaluable. Knives cost Lives has already educated so many young people in the Huyton area and I hope it continues for a long time to come.”
Berna Thompson, who runs the Knives cost Lives programme said: “We are delighted to have received this valuable funding from the Police as we all know sadly knife crime is now a topic on every parents mind. The thought of your child going out and not coming home is horrific. What we don't want to do is scare our children, we need to reassure them that people are working to break this down.
“Knife crime is a really complex issue and it’s everyone’s responsibility to help try and combat the serious dangers that are out there, that could potentially affect our children. We all have to work together to help improve our young people’s life chances, choices and opportunities. Education is key, knowledge is key, the more they learn about this subject the more they can protect themselves from harm or becoming involved.”
To report information about knife crime, please contact @MerPolCC, 101 or @CrimestoppersUK, anonymously on 0800 555 111.