Students across Wiltshire and Swindon have been taking part in a new initiative which has been teaching them about the possible consequences of carrying a knife and what to do if a friend or family member is stabbed.
Part-funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and involving members of Wiltshire Police and the NHS, Blunt Truth is an hour-long workshop which aims to encourage young people to report through their school, the police or through FEARLESS (youth arm of Crimestoppers) if someone they know is carrying a knife.
As part of Operation Sceptre, a national campaign aimed at reducing knife crime, schools from Devizes and Swindon hosted Katie Rix, an ED Paediatric Senior Sister with the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the team from Wiltshire Police's Youth and Early Intervention unit who delivered the Blunt Truth workshops.
Pupils from year nine were shown a video highlighting the different outcomes of either reporting someone they know to be carrying a knife or the potential tragic outcomes if they don't. PCSO Jonathan Akehurst talked to them about the situations they could find themselves in and who they could talk to if they were worried about friends or relatives.
Sister Rix led the students in first aid training for victims of knife wounds, with pupils taking part in practical demonstrations. She also shared her experiences of treating patients who had been stabbed, including her work in the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Knife crime has risen by 15% in Wiltshire and Swindon and the ultimate aim of the workshop is to prevent assaults using knives from taking place through the increased reporting of knife carrying.
Philip Wilkinson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, observed the workshop at Devizes School and could see the impression they made on the young people who were there.
Mr Wilkinson said:
"Whilst the majority of young people won't be involved directly in knife crime, these sessions make them aware of the dangers of carrying knives and gives them tools to make the right decision if they ever find themselves in difficult position of having to report someone they know who's carrying a knife.
"I was impressed with how well the pupils from Devizes School engaged with the session, and hearing directly from an A&E specialist who deals with young people who are the victims of stabbings seemed to make a strong impact.
"It shows why funding workshops like these and working closely with our partners in the NHS is worthwhile"
The Blunt Truth sessions will continue for the rest of the year and into 2024 across schools in Wiltshire and Swindon.