Students in Corby discussed tackling and preventing knife crime, as part of a launch event held for Northamptonshire County Schools Challenge(NCSC).
The event, held at Corby Technical School (CTS), was the latest in a series of launches currently being held at schools across Northamptonshire.
PCSO Steve Coles visited the school on Wednesday to deliver an assembly about knife crime, which described how young people could help support their peers by getting involved with NCSC.
Together with other members of the NCSC Steering Group, he supported student workshops during the day.
So far, more than 20 schools across the county have signed up to take part in the annual challenge, which asks students to develop their own ‘social enterprise’ projects, in an effort to educate and support other young people around the chosen subject of knife crime.
The aim of this year’s challenge is to help students gain a greater awareness of the dangers of carrying a bladed weapon, help prevent knife crime and reduce the number of injuries caused by using a bladed weapon.
PCSO Coles said: “Unfortunately violence among young people, often with the use of knives, is something police forces are having to deal with up and down the country.
“By introducing this as the subject for this year’s challenge, we are asking a lot of the young people getting involved. By coming up with their competition ideas, they have the great responsibility of helping their peers to stay safe, stay educated about knife crime and its dangers, and become part of the solution.
“The pupils at CTS this week worked well together and really took on board the challenge set to them.”
NCSC, which is now in its 10th year, is usually run with key stage three pupils and most schools carry out an in-house competition to identify one team to then take part in the semi-finals and present to a Dragons’ Den style panel.
The best teams from the semis are put forward for the Grand Final, where they have the opportunity to win £2,000 to enable them to progress the winning idea, and the right support to turn their social enterprise idea into a reality.
Previous subjects have included road safety, drugs and psychoactive substances, healthy relationships and e-safety.
A spokesperson from the Brooke Weston Trust said: ‘The Northants County Schools Challenge is a really engaging and interactive way of getting our students to think about dangerous or anti-social issues.
“This year’s theme of knife crime is very topical and an important one to highlight. The NCSC allows our young people to discuss the dangers, know how to seek help in any situation and also come up with innovative and creative ways that will help young people stop and think before carrying knives.
“Our students, especially those at CTS, have a well-developed education programme, run by PCSOs, so they are given all the latest information, support and advice on issues such as these.
“The competition is very hard-fought between the county schools and the fact that the shortlisted teams have the opportunity to look around Police and Fire Headquarters as part of the semi-finals is an added incentive.”
Organisers are currently accepting applications from schools hoping to put forward teams for the 2019 challenge.
Representatives from schools are welcome to email NCSC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Henny Cameron on 101, extension 345678.
Information relating to knife crime, or about anyone who carries a knife, can be reported via 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
The final will take place on July 8, 2019 at The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough.
Find out more from this video filmed with PCSO Coles and students at Corby Technical School.