Year 9 pupils from local secondary schools, including Colmers School and Frankley Community High School, have attended a presentation where they have learnt that “Only dummies carry knives”
Pupils were introduced to star of the show ‘Stan’ – a realistic dummy which has a heartbeat and can breathe, talk, sweat, blink and bleed!
Stan – who is linked up to equipment monitoring vital signs like blood pressure and pulse rate – is used to demonstrate how rapidly someone deteriorates after being stabbed.
It’s a hands-on presentation which is designed to deter teenagers away from gang culture and carrying knives.
Sergeant Karl Pierpoint is from the Longbridge Neighbourhood Police that organised the event at the Hollymoor Centre in Northfield. He said: “Early intervention in schools is vital to show teenagers, at a time when they are perhaps at their most impressionable and subject to peer pressure, that getting involved in gangs isn’t cool or clever and can have catastrophic consequences.
“Ask teenagers why people carry knives and most will reply ‘for their protection’. The presentation also debunks that myth because statistics show people with knives are very likely to be stabbed or injured with the very knife they are carrying.
“Using Stan is a great way to get across the dangers and our messages – it’s much more stimulating and hard-hitting than traditional classroom sessions.”
The presentation complements West Midlands Police’s Guns & Knives Take Lives project which has now reached around 12,000 secondary school pupils across the region.
Again the focus is on ‘deglamourising’ gang culture, challenging peer pressure and trying to prevent youngsters from making poor choices which could ruin their lives before they’ve really begun.
Latest figures show such police work is paying off as the number of under-18s arrested for carrying a knife or “pointed article” – such as a screwdriver – has fallen considerably over the last six years.
In 2006-07 194 juveniles were arrested but last year (2011-12) that figure had dropped to 63.
Sgt Pierpoint added: “These are hard-hitting demonstrations because we have to show the real consequences of carrying knives – and the arrest figures show our joint work with schools is driving home important messages with students.
“We’ve had terrific feedback from the pupils who have taken part in the discussions; they seem to be genuinely affected by the project and are taking on board our safety advice.
“Ultimately we’re trying to save lives by encouraging young people to make the right choices and not to get involved with gangs or knives.”