Board game campaign asks teenagers to roll the dice on knife crime
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Police will be rolling out an innovative scheme aimed at tackling knife crime, by taking a tailor-made board game into schools across Derbyshire.
The game – the first of its kind to be delivered by police directly to children in their classrooms – is designed to teach teenagers about the consequences of carrying a knife.
It asks the pupils to take on the roles of different characters as they play through a scenario where one teenager stabs another in a public park, all the while discussing the wide-ranging aftermath.
The lesson opens with a video introducing the overall story, with one friend asking another to carry a knife for them. Their group then head to a nearby park and end up arguing with a second group, in front of other innocent bystanders. The knife is eventually pulled and the video ends.
At that point, the pupils take over the action, rolling the dice to determine what happens next.
Throughout the lesson, the groups will take on the roles of different characters – including police, paramedics and witnesses – to discuss how they would feel and what impact the incident would have on them.
Meanwhile, short videos from real officers, ambulance crews and a parent affected by knife violence, will be played to reinforce the key messages.
The session then concludes with this video, explaining that people can choose not to take a knife, but if they make the choice to carry one for whatever reason, everything that follows is left to chance.
A pilot version of the game is now being trialled in Derbyshire schools, with pupils given the chance to test, edit and even suggest a name for it.
Superintendent Sarah McAughtrie, Derbyshire Constabulary’s knife crime lead, said: “For years, we have visited schools to talk about the dangers of carrying a knife and how devastating the consequences can be.
“While I know those visits do work, sadly there are still far too many instances of people carrying knives and being hurt or even killed by them.
“We will never stop working to stamp out knife crime and the board game is the latest innovative way that we are trying to tackle it. We need to keep adapting the way we deliver these life-saving messages and keep driving the idea that carrying a knife is deadly.
“I hope that, if anyone ever faces such a life-threatening choice of whether or not to carry a knife, this extremely distinctive lesson will pop up in their memory and help them make the right one.”
The board game is a partnership project and has been supported by local authorities in Derbyshire, with the videos – starring youngsters from our Police Cadet programme – created by the force’s in-house multimedia team.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Early intervention is important if we are to change young people’s attitudes to carrying a knife. The game and the film are part of a package of measures being implemented in schools across Derbyshire. If long lasting change is to be achieved we must impress on young people at an early age that carrying a knife is dangerous, not just for other people but, like in many cases, for the person carrying it.”
The pilot scheme started this week to mark the start of Operation Sceptre, a national week of action focused on tackling knife crime.
It has so far been tested with pupils at schools including Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy, Derby Pride Academy and Kirk Hallam Community Academy.
The game and the associated video content will be tweaked and fine-tuned based on feedback from the school pupils, teachers and the team delivering the lessons.
Once finished, it will be launched across Derbyshire and delivered in all secondary schools, with a revised version also aimed at upper primary school children.
Julie Berry, our Youth Engagement Officer, said: “From the start of this project we have always wanted it to be led by the youth voice.
“It’s critical that it is relevant to the age group and that’s why we are running a pilot scheme now, so we can test what works and what doesn’t.
“The feedback so far has been really positive and we are confident that, although it may seem like an unusual tactic, taking a board game into schools will leave a lasting impression on the class.
“It is all about creating a talking point with teenagers and encouraging them to think about the wider implications of their choices. With those teenagers working on the project with us, we believe it will be an essential tool in helping us bring down knife crime.”
The game is just one of a series of activities we are running during Operation Sceptre.
Operation Sceptre runs from Monday 16 to Sunday 22 May 2022 and highlights the work done by officers and staff to tackle the root cause of these often-devastating crimes. Various events are running throughout Derbyshire, including school visits, public engagement, and enforcement activity.
You can see the work on social media by following Derbyshire Constabulary on Facebook and @DerbysPolice on Twitter. There are also posts by local Safer Neighbourhood Teams which are tagged with #OpSceptre.
If you have concerns about knife crime, or know someone who carries a knife, please report this to us.
You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting the Crime Stoppers website.