On Wednesday the 17th of August 2022 Together As One Trust (TAOT) organised one of its knife crime prevention campaign events in Manchester. The event took place at the Bellevue Leisure Centre on Kirkmanshulme Lane in Manchester. Participants were young men and women from the ages of 12 – 18 years. During this Summer break the youngsters attend this venue from 10am to participate in sporting activities including football, athletics, basketball and dance. Other activities include arts, workshops, tournaments etc. Parents collect their children after 3pm. We had over 50 participants in attendance.
Taot engaged the youngsters in an interactive discussion that involved a question-and-answer session, a true or false set of questions, all aimed at improving awareness and knowledge around the problem of knife crime in Manchester. The young men and women became so passionate, attentive and very much involved in the discussions. They asked many questions and were not shy to express their opinions, ideas and their thoughts about the subject.
They found it hard for example to believe that jail term is a possibility just by being caught with a knife in a public place. They also thought that it is unfair that someone should be held accountable even if they did not take part in the assault that may have resulted in injuries or the death of a victim just by being present at the time the incident occurred (joint enterprise). Most of them acknowledged seeing one of their classmates with a knife in school but were afraid to report it. All their questions were answered but ultimately, we reminded participants that the facts we were giving them were according to the law of the land. Inasmuch as they may not find the facts “logical”, they still remain the law and therefore should be taken seriously and obeyed if they value their freedom. We also advised them to spread the word as much as possible.
Participants were reminded to report any citing of an unauthorised knife to a responsible person be it their parents or teacher etc. They were also advised to avoid carrying knives and to stay away from friends or acquaintances who carry knives with them. They were all very appreciative of the session, and thanked us immensely. They said they had learnt so much from the session and would definitely take on board what they had learnt.