What are the signs somebody might be carrying a knife?
Police in the West Midlands have issued a useful list of warning signs that might indicate a young person is carrying a knife. These are aimed mainly at parents but can be useful for anyone who comes into contact with young people.
Have they become withdrawn from the family and/or school?
Is their school or college reporting worrying changes in behaviour, academic achievement or attendance?
Have they lost interest in positive activities such as sports clubs?
Do they stay out unusually late without giving a reason and are vague about their whereabouts?
Have they stopped seeing old friends and started hanging out with a new group?
Are they secretive about the contents of their bag?
Are they defensive if you ask what is in their possession or if they are hiding anything?
Has their attitude changed about carrying knives/weapons? For example, justifying it by saying people carry them for self-defence?
Have any items gone missing from the kitchen, tool box or garage?
Have you found a weapon hidden amongst their possessions?
What should you do if you suspect that someone you know is carrying a knife?
If you think that someone you know, or someone in your area, is carrying a knife, REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY to your local police on 101.
In London, you can report it online on the Met Police website.
You can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
At both Crimestoppers.org and Fearless.org, you can pass on information about criminal or possible criminal activity without giving any personal information about yourself.
Fearless.org, which is aimed specifically at young people, promises that if you choose to contact them anonymously:
You can give them information about crime without giving any personal details.
They will not make note of your gender or age.
They will not record any personal details you might mention.
They cannot trace your email or IP address.
In an emergency always dial 999.
If you are worried about your child, you could also try talking to the families of their friends. If you’re worried, chances are they have concerns about their child too. Working together can be a valuable way to look out for each other and help keep your children safe.
How can you get rid of a knife?
If people want to get rid of knives, there’s a great scheme run by the charity Word 4 Weapons that lets people dump their knives and other pointed or bladed items into knife bins dotted around London. There will be some added in Yorkshire shortly too.
There are 31 knife bins in Greater London, usually located in places such as churchyards where there is no CCTV, so that people can drop them off anonymously without fear of getting into trouble.
The Word 4 Weapons website tells people how to wrap up a knife before taking to a knife bin.
You can find this advice, and a list of all the knife bin locations, on this website.
If there is no knife bin near you, lots of police forces run regular weapons amnesty days as part of Operation Sceptre, the national campaign to reduce knife crime. You can find out when your next one is coming by keeping an eye on your local police website.