Aberdeen ,

Young people asked to pledge their support to #lifenotknife campaign

Young people in Aberdeen are being asked to pledge their support to Aberdeen City Council’s anti-weapon/knife crime strategy, which was launched today (Friday 10 March).

Aberdeen City Council’s Convener of Education and Children’s Services Committee Councillor Angela Taylor visited Scotstown School to see Primary Seven pupils to make the pledge #lifenotknife.

Pupils across the city are being asked to sign the pledge, which means that they will:

  • never carry a weapon/knife;

  • if they see or hear that someone is carrying a weapon/knife then they will share this information.

    The Council’s anti-weapon/knife crime strategy is aligned to the recommendations of the Independent Review by Andrew Lowe, which followed the tragic death of Bailey Gwynne at Cults Academy in October 2015.

    The Council’s commitment to deliver an anti-weapon/knife crime strategy will see schools receive a special anti-weapon/knife school pack.

    The aims of the school pack are to:

  • highlight weapon/knife crime and the consequences of carrying a weapon;
  • raise awareness about the types of situations that can lead to violence.

The school pack includes:

  • pledge – Aberdeen City Council wants young people to pledge:
    • to never carry a weapon;

    • if they see or hear that someone is carrying a weapon/knife then they share this information.

  • poster – for displaying throughout the school, which highlights the main message of the anti-weapon/knife crime strategy.
  • parent leaflet – contains facts on the law, weapons and highlights how parents can play their part too.
  • certificate – demonstrates to all visitors that the school says no to weapons and has a zero tolerance approach to ensuring a safe community.
  • pupil voice – an agenda item will be shared at pupil voice groups, and will encourage discussion on anti-weapon crime.
  • letter to parents – this will ensure all families are aware of the anti-weapon rules within school and parents/pupils can sign the agreement to show they understand the rules.
  • lessons – Primary Seven pupils will receive lessons on anti-weapon/knife crime, which will look at:
    • The law

    • The consequences of carry a knife

    • Keeping safe in various risky situations.

      The learning activities are intended to support work in schools around weapon/knife crime and have been adapted from resources made available by the Ben Kinsella Trust in London.

      Schools will continue to work closely with their local police in order to deliver a correct representation of facts with regard to the law and consequences of weapon/knife crime.

      The #lifenotknife pledge is an educational activity, which can be used within a class environment to conclude any informative assembly / lesson or class discussion on anti-weapon law and the consequences of carrying a weapon/knife. By getting classes to sign the pledge together will promote a collaborative approach to creating a safer community.

      Aberdeen City Council’s Convener of Education and Children’s Services Committee, Councillor Angela Taylor said: “The safety and wellbeing of all pupils, staff and visitors to a school is of paramount importance.

      “The anti-weapon/knife crime strategy aims to raise awareness about weapon and knife crime and the consequences of carrying a weapon and the types of situations that can lead to violence.

      “Implementation of an anti-weapon/knife crime strategy will help create a safe learning environment which will benefit everyone, and will contribute to a safer community and environment for all.

      “I would encourage all our young people to sign the pledge #lifenotknife today.”

      Gayle Gorman, Director of Aberdeen City Council’s Education and Children’s Services said: “Bailey’s death was a terrible tragedy. We are determined to carrying forward this anti-weapon/knife crime strategy that raises awareness and involves not only pupils, their schools but their parents and guardians and a commitment from all to ensure a safe environment for all.”

      Partnerships Inspector Colin Taylor, Police Scotland said: "It's vital young people understand and appreciate the legal aspects of carrying weapons as well as the devastating effects it can have on them, their family and their friends.

      "Police Scotland has been working closely with Aberdeen City Council, along with the two other local authorities, to deliver talks and interactive lessons within secondary schools over the past year to educate young people on the consequences taking weapons into schools could have. These sessions, which are led by our school-based and school liaison officers, have reached a significant number of pupils and received extremely positive feedback from students, teachers and parents. The #lifenotknife campaign will only serve to further strengthen our approach in the North East.

      "This is not an issue just one agency can tackle alone. All partners need to work together to provide education and enforcement where necessary, and we also need young people and their families to recognise where their responsibilities lie. This is why Police Scotland fully supports this campaign and why we would encourage all young people and their guardians to make the pledge."

      Details on how to make the #lifenotknife pledge can be viewed on the council website at: www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/lifenotknife/

      Aberdeen City Council’s anti-weapon/knife crime strategy will be shared with its partners in the Northern Alliance (Aberdeenshire, Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles Councils) in order that they can also implement the strategy in their schools.