Knife crime is a crime that involves knives, whether that is someone threatening or harming someone else with a knife or someone carrying a knife as a weapon. Together with partners, we are working to prevent knife crime in Staffordshire.

Advice for parent and carers

When someone becomes involved with knife crime or drugs they often change their behaviour. As a parent or carer, it is important to know what to look for. Common warning signals may indicate a young person is involved in something untoward, such as if they:

  • become withdrawn from family and school
  • change their behaviour and/or are skipping school
  • have lost interest in hobbies and old friends, and now hang around with a new group, staying out late
  • they’re vague about where they’re going or where they’ve been
  • become secretive and defensive easily, particularly about what’s in their bag and might even have told you that they need to carry a knife for protection
  • take kitchen knives from home, hiding them in their bag or coat.

More often than not, people carry knives or weapons because they think other people are and that the knife or weapon will provide protection. However, statistics show that 99 per cent of young people don’t carry knives and carrying a knife means you’re more likely to end up getting hurt. It could mean an argument escalating to a point of life or death.

Please explain to your child that the consequences of carrying a knife include:

  • Being arrested - police can stop and search someone if they believe a weapon is being carried
  • Prosecution - regardless of whether your child says it was for their own protection or they were carrying it for someone else
  • Prison - sentences of up to four years are given for possession of a knife OR if you stab someone and they die then a life sentence means 25 years inside
  • A criminal record – this can stop them getting in to college, university, getting a job or travelling to countries like the USA or Australia
  • Death - they could get seriously injured or even killed

We encourage handing in any unwanted knives to help keep Staffordshire safer. In every home in the county you will find kitchen knives but this option is designed to allow the disposal of other knives which are surplus to requirements, such as ornamental, ex-military or combat style weapons, which could easily end or ruin a life if used recklessly.

Unfortunately, the majority of knives and bladed articles that we find young people in possession of have come from their own homes, so if you don’t need it - just bin it. You can do so without any risk of prosecution at either Burton, Cannock or Longton police stations. You can also dispose of normal kitchen knives at many recycling centres, where they can be placed in the scrap metal containers.

If you’re worried about your child or believe they could be putting themselves and others in danger, then it could be worth having a conversation with them about the dangers and consequences.

Pick a place and a time where you can comfortably chat together. They might be reluctant to talk to you, so it might help to start by watching a relevant video or news article, ask them what they think to get the conversation going. Ask them if they understand what knife crime is about. Be patient, get them talking, reassure them that they can be honest with you about their fears and worries. You are there to listen and support them.

If you are a parent or carer and you are worried about a child you can seek guidance and support from your local safeguarding team:

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Safeguarding Referral Team - 01782 235100, or out of hours 01782 234234

All other areas of Staffordshire are covered by Staffordshire County Council’s First Response team - 0800 1313 126, or out of hours 0345 6042 886

If you have information, you can contact us via our website's reporting form, you can direct message us on social media, or call us on 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency, such as when a crime is happening or if someone's life is at immediate risk.

Alternatively, you can pass information to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or online on the Crimestoppers website. By reporting a crime or giving information, you can prevent future crimes from happening and potentially save someone's life.

Information could include:

  • Anyone you know or believe to be carrying a knife
  • People you suspect are involved in gangs, organised crime or drug dealing
  • Any suspicions you have regarding sexual exploitation or people asking young people to do things for money, gifts or other items in return
  • Young people going missing and their whereabouts being unaccounted for, or whether their behaviour changes i.e. they're worried, scared, upset or have unexplained injuries
  • Any websites or social media that evidences crimes taking place, make a note of dates/times and take screenshots so they can be sent to police.

Advice for young people

More often than not, people carry knives or weapons because they think other people are and that the knife or weapon will provide protection. However, statistics show that 99 per cent of young people don’t carry knives and carrying a knife means you’re more likely to end up getting hurt.

Carrying consequences can include:

  • Being arrested - police can stop and search someone if they believe a weapon is being carried
  • Prosecution - regardless of whether you say it was for your own protection or you were carrying it for someone else
  • Prison - sentences of up to four years are given for possession of a knife OR if you stab someone and they die then a life sentence means 25 years inside
  • A criminal record – this can stop you getting in to college, university, getting a job or travelling to countries like the USA or Australia
  • Death - you could get seriously injured or even killed

Here are some tips to help you #DitchtheBlade and to live #knifefree

  • Your mates should never pressure you into doing something you don’t want to. Consider whether those you surround yourself with are having a positive impact on your life.
  • Some friends may pressure you to carry. Try and think of a way to say no before you’re put on the spot, so you’re ready – it could save your life.
  • Try and stay away from situations that you know are likely to result in conflict or violence.
  • Find positive things to do which will help you avoid dangerous situations. This will also help you meet others living knife free.

There are agencies listed further down the page who can help you. They can also offer support if you are worried about a friend.

If you have a knife you wish to dispose of we would encourage you to hand it in.

We are aware that you may have access to normal kitchen knives and these are dangerous so please don’t take these from your home. If you do have one of these in your possession you can dispose of it at most recycling centres, where they can be placed in the scrap metal containers.

You can also hand knives in without any risk of prosecution at either Burton, Cannock or Longton police stations. This option is designed to allow the disposal of other knives which are surplus to requirements, such as ornamental, ex-military or combat style weapons, which could easily end or ruin a life if used recklessly.

If you are worried about a friend, being pressured into carrying a knife or are in a situation that you feel uncomfortable with you can get advice from independent agencies. When you contact them you can stay anonymous, which means you don’t have to give your name or any information that will identify you. They can give you confidential help and advice:

Childline 0800 1111

Counsellors are there for young people 24/7. They can help and support with any issue they’re going through, no matter how big or small. For more information visit the Childline website.

Victim Support 0808 1689 111

There for anyone who has been affected by crime, whether it was reported or not, and no matter how long ago it happened. Victim Support will provide free, confidential support so you can move forward with your life. The Victim Support website also includes a live chat function.

Fearless

Fearless is an independent charity that allows people to pass on information about crime 100% anonymously. They provide a route for passing details of crime securely and safely via the Fearless website.

If you have information, you can contact us via our website’s reporting form, you can direct message us on social media, or you can call us on 101. You should always dial 999 in an emergency, such as a crime happening or if someone’s life is at immediate risk.

Alternatively, you can pass on information anonymously to Fearless mentioned above. By reporting a crime or giving information, you can prevent future crimes from happening and potentially save someone’s life.

Information could include:

  • Anyone you know or believe to be carrying a knife
  • People you suspect are involved in gangs, organised crime or drug dealing
  • Any suspicions you have regarding sexual exploitation or people asking you or other young people to do things for money, gifts or other items in return
  • If you know any young people who have gone missing and their whereabouts being unaccounted for, or whether their behaviour changes i.e. they’re worried, scared, upset or have unexplained injuries
  • Any websites or social media that evidences crimes taking place, make a note of dates/times and take screenshots so they can be sent to police

Advice for practitioners

When someone becomes involved with knife crime or drugs they often change their behaviour. In your role, it is important to know what to look for, and the following warning signals may indicate a young person is involved in something untoward:

  • They have become withdrawn from school, they’ve changed their behaviour and/or are skipping school
  • They have lost interest in hobbies and old friends, and now hang around with a new group
  • They become secretive and defensive easily, particularly about what’s in their bag and might even have told you that they need to carry a knife for protection
  • You have been made aware that they might have a knife in their bag or coat.

More often than not, people carry knives or weapons because they think ‘other people are’ and that the knife or weapon will provide protection. However, statistics show that 99 per cent of young people don’t carry knives and carrying a knife means you’re more likely to end up getting hurt.

Please communicate to the young people you work with that consequences of carrying a knife include:

  • Being arrested - police can stop and search someone if they believe a weapon is being carried
  • Prosecution - regardless of whether they say it was for their own protection or they were carrying it for someone else
  • Prison - sentences of up to four years are given for possession of a knife OR if you stab someone and they die then a life sentence means 25 years inside
  • A criminal record – this can stop them getting in to college, university, getting a job or travelling to countries like the USA or Australia
  • Death - they could get seriously injured or even killed

We encourage the disposal of knives so please explain this to the young people you work with. This can be done without any risk of prosecution at either Burton, Cannock or Longton police stations. Normal kitchen knives can be disposed of at many recycling centres, where they can be placed in the scrap metal containers.

If you’re concerned for the welfare of someone or believe they could be putting themselves and others in danger, then it could be worth having a conversation with them about the dangers and consequences.

Pick a place and a time where you can comfortably chat together. They might be reluctant to talk to you, so it might help to start by watching a relevant video or news article, ask them what they think to get the conversation going. Ask them if they understand what knife crime is about. Be patient, get them talking, reassure them that they can be honest with you about their fears and worries. You are there to listen and support them.

Remember these points when you are talking to them:

  • Young people face all sorts of pressures. Finding out why they carry can help lead to a solution.
  • Simply listening and giving time to a young person can encourage them to think about their decisions and behaviour.
  • Teaching them the consequences of knife crime can also help them to understand that carrying a knife is not the answer.
  • Making them understand how upset you’d be if they got caught with a knife or got injured could help them realise the impact their actions have on you and/or others.

If you are worried about a child you work with you can seek guidance and support from your local safeguarding team:

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Safeguarding Referral Team can be contacted on 01782 235100, or out of hours 01782 234234

If you live in another area of Staffordshire, you can contact Staffordshire County Council’s First Response on 0800 1313 126, or out of hours 0345 6042 886

If you have information, you can contact us via our website's reporting form, you can direct message us on social media, or if you prefer you can call us on 101. You should always dial 999 in an emergency, such a crime happening there and then or if someone's life is at immediate risk.

You can also pass on information to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or online on the Crimestoppers website. By reporting a crime or giving information, you can prevent future crimes from happening and potentially save someone's life.

Information could include:

  • Anyone you know or believe to be carrying a knife
  • People you suspect are involved in gangs, organised crime or drug dealing
  • Any suspicions you have regarding sexual exploitation or people asking young people to do things for money, gifts or other items in return
  • Young people going missing and their whereabouts being unaccounted for, or whether their behaviour changes i.e. they're worried, scared, upset or have unexplained injuries
  • Any websites or social media that evidences crimes taking place, make a note of dates/times and take screenshots so they can be sent to police.