Home Secretary outlines detail underpinning further action to target youth violence

Chairing the latest Serious Violence Task Force, Home Secretary Sajid Javid set out details of a new youth advocates programme that will see respected members of communities, such as sports coaches and youth workers, receive specialist training in order to have safe conversations with young people and purposefully provide them with positive alternatives to carrying a knife.

The Home Secretary also announced the next stage of the #knifefree advertising campaign which features real life stories of youths who have turned away from a life of crime thanks to a mentor in their community.

“Intervening early in the lives of vulnerable youngsters is key in combating the rise of serious violence,” explained the Home Secretary. “It’s therefore vital that we communicate with them directly through the people in their communities whom they respect and listen to. That’s why the grassroots advocates programme and our #knifefree campaign are integral to the work we are doing to stop this bloodshed.”

The new youth advocates programme is running in London and Manchester and provides local role models with expert training on skills such as safeguarding, diffusing conflict and substance misuse. This will help them spot warning signs and give guidance on how to cope in challenging situations.

The youth advocates in London, who work in key community focal points such as boxing clubs, youth centres and schools, have already started to receive specific training. The programme in Manchester will begin in the next few weeks.

To support the advocates’ conversations with young people, new #knifefree adverts will run in key London and Manchester areas. These will tell the real stories of young people (as portrayed by actors) and why and how they stopped carrying knives, thereby inspiring others to live knife free.

Amplifying the #knifefree campaign

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Members of the Task Force have been shown a preview of the new #knifefree video and updated on a new collaboration with youth channel SBTV which saw four YouTube videos go live on Sunday. The videos were filmed across the UK and highlight music artists speaking to young people from their area about why and how they are both knife-free.

These films use popular music artists such as Bugzy Malone (who has almost one million Instagram followers) to amplify the #knifefree campaign, directly reach young people and inspire them to live knife free.

The #knifefree media campaign – which aims to educate 10-21 year olds on the dangers of carrying knives – is one of the 61 commitments in the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy which stresses the importance of early intervention to tackle the root causes of violent crime and provide young people with the skills and resilience to lead productive lives that are free from violence.

The strategy sets out the importance of a multi-agency approach to tackling serious violence which involves a range of partners and agencies. Building on this, on 2 October last year the Home Secretary announced further measures including a new £200 million youth endowment fund, an independent review of drug misuse and a consultation on a new legal duty to underpin a multi-agency preventative or ‘public health’ approach towards tackling serious violence.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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