Plea for Northampton teenagers to 'leave knives at home' launched in town centre

Northampton teenagers are being urged to leave knives at home.
Northampton teenagers are being urged to leave knives at home.

An appeal for Northampton's teenagers to think about the consequences of violence and leave knives at home was launched yesterday.

The #SaveLivesNoKnives project has been created to teach young people there is never a reason to carry a weapon.

Half-a-dozen Northamptonshire organisations have come together to launch #SaveLivesNoKnives.

Half-a-dozen Northamptonshire organisations have come together to launch #SaveLivesNoKnives.

Starting in the new school year, officers, ambulance crews and even a top Northampton judge will be visiting secondary schools to talk about how knife crime ruins the lives of victims, offenders and their families.

The launch in Northampton's Market Square yesterday (August 29) comes after three people were stabbed to death in separate Northampton murder investigations between May and July this year.

They include 17-year-old Louis-Ryan Menezes, who was attacked in the St David's area in May. A 16-year-old boy has been charged with his murder.

And earlier this year, five young men were jailed for more than 36 years for the killing of 17-year-old Liam Hunt in 2016.

Chief inspector James Willis said many young people are equipping themselves with knives out of fear of other teenagers, while others are being groomed by gangs.

He said: "Northampton and the wider county has seen a big increase in knife crime.

"It sadly mirrors the increase across the country, partly fueled by the rise of gangs trafficking drugs from cities into smaller towns.

"All the evidence suggests that if you carry a knife you are more likely to be stabbed. It won't protect you. It will just put you at more risk of injury, prosecution or even death."

#StopKnivesSaveLives is a joint project by the East Midlands Ambulance Services, Northamptonshire Police, the youth offending service, the University of Northampton, Northampton Borough Council and the council's youth organisation Free To Talk.

The campaign - will include a series of "hard-hitting" videos to be shown in schools where paramedics talk about their experiences at the scenes of stabbings.

Lee Brenthall, ambulance operations manager for EMAS, said: "If we can get even one young person to leave the knives at home we will have been successful.

"Knife crime amongst teenagers is a waste of young life. Lives are changed forever. Victims can lose their lives, perpetrators go to prison and then both families have lost someone."

It comes after Northampton youth organisation Free To Talk was promised more than £800,000 to help young people stay clear of crime over the next four years.