News

St Helens teens lead on knife crime campaign

Merseyside / February 02

Over the past six months, Merseyside Police Officers from the St Helens Local Police Team have embarked on a local initiative (Operation Jinli) working with partners to target the county’s sharp increase in knife crime.  

To raise the profile of the dangers of this crime, officers ran a poster competition with the level 3 Graphic Design students from St Helens College, encouraging them to speak openly about the dangers of carrying weapons and understanding the consequences.

The students had up until yesterday afternoon (Thursday, 1st February) to complete the posters and showcase their designs to our officers.

Sergeant Neil Birkett of the St Helens Community Policing Team said: “The students have all worked really hard in designing some great posters that really highlight the dangers of carrying these deadly weapons.

“It was a tough decision but after much deliberation, I was delighted to award Andrew Tickle as the winner of the competition. His poster really highlighted the impact knife crime has on not only the victim, but their families and friends.

“Talking to young people is a key factor in nipping this crime in the bud. We want to educate them that carrying a knife is a criminal offence and could result in a serious penalty or even worse.

“I want to give a special thanks to Karl Ashton (step father of Danny Fox) who chose the winning poster. The Fox family have been incremental in raising the profile of knife crime following the turmoil they’ve had to endure after the death of Danny in 2016.

“Along with this competition, my team and I have been working hard to eradicate knife crime and make our streets safer through speaking directly to the community, delivering social media campaigns, doing land searches and concentrating police tactics including using ‘Section 60’ stop and search powers and dispersal zones to target those suspected of carrying a knife in public. 

“People involved in this type of offending are in the minority and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners such as St Helens Safe Communities Team to tackle these issues and ensure our communities are safe.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy also commented: “Knife crime ruins lives and can have a devastating impact on families and the whole community. It is so important that we talk to young people from an early age and make them realise the potentially shattering consequences of carrying a weapon.

“Sadly, we have seen too often the tragedy that can unfold when a knife is used. It was incredibly brave of Danny Fox’s step-dad to join this event yesterday to judge the competition.

“It’s clear from the really impactful designs the students have created that they have understood the importance of this campaign. Their posters will now be used to warn other young people of the consequences of picking up a knife. I would also continue to urge people, particularly parents and carers, to continue to talk to their young people and remind them of the importance of never taking a knife out with them.”

Jeanine Williams, Safeguarding and Wellbeing Manager at St Helens College added: “This has been a great opportunity for our students. Not only has this given them a chance to creatively explore current safety issues, they have gained further knowledge of the threats of knife crime, educated their peers and gained valuable professional experience that has seen them apply their skills as they would if they worked in industry.

“A final thank you goes to all the St Helens officers involved in the competition, our students have really enjoyed taking part.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Image: College Poster Comp Judges (L-R) - Karl Ashton (Step father of Danny Fox), Mike Berry (PCC's Community Engagement officer St Helens), Insp Matty Drennan and Sgt Neil Birkett (St Helens Community Police team)