No Knives Performance Delivers Powerful Message To Cleethorpes Students

The No Knives Campaign team with students from Cleethorpes Academy. Pictured (l-r) are: PCSO Shaun Lee; Lee Westerman, Youth Engagement Practitioner; student Oliver Brackenbury; campaigner Jack McFaul; student Scarlett Swinton;  campaigners Declan Rokahr and Zie Moyo; students Ella Foxon and Harry Rowntree; and PCSO Chris Wood.

Humberside Police and anti knife crime activists delivered a powerful message to students at Cleethorpes Academy. In a region where knife crime is still a relatively sporadic issue, campaigners are determined that prevention is the key and education is the way forward.

By combining music and factual evidence, the police and a group of Hull-based rappers hope to make their message relatable to teenagers, who are falling foul of knife crime on a daily basis in other areas of the country.

Campaigners Zie Moyo, Declan Rokahr and Jack McFaul had the Year 10 teenagers at the Academy on their feet as they opened the performance with a rap written by Jack, with a chorus repeating the words: Time To Reflect, Respect.

Their engaging 'banter' and Zie's charismatic delivery of his story of a life lived in poverty that brought him up close with knives as a teenager, but ultimately led him to make better life choices, was a strong message that both shocked and engaged the students.

All three men now represent 180 - a group affiliated to Potter's House Church, in Hull. They are now working with Humberside Police in a collaboration that has seen them visit every secondary school in Hull, and now on the South Bank too, in an effort to deter students from taking the wrong path.

BBC reporters also visited Cleethorpes Academy to film the performance and speak to the students for a special report on Knife Crime in the North, which will be aired later this month. All students in the Academy watched the performance at different times throughout the day.

Following the first performance, Project Planner Zie (26) who was born in Zimbabwe but came to Hull in 2005, said: "I guess the message is that you don't have to do things the way that other people are doing them. You have the chance with the right information to make the right choices in life."

Humberside Police PCSO Chris Wood, who is based in Cleethorpes, told the students that although knife crime is relatively low in the region, there were still 411 knife crime incidents in North East Lincolnshire in 2018. These include anything from carrying a knife to being present when someone else is carrying a knife.

He highlighted the fact that the maximum sentence for carrying a knife is now four years in prison, and that you can be prosecuted just for being present when someone else has a knife.

"These are facts that many teenagers are not aware of and they are shocked by them," he said.

"One in three people who do carry a knife have that knife used against them, usually resulting in injury. Just carrying a knife makes you more susceptible.

"To be clear, knife crime is definitely not an issue in this area in the same way that it is in some others, and it is not something we want people to worry about.

"However, education is very important in prevention of knife crime, or indeed any crime, and that is why we feel this is the best way to deliver the message to our young people. Zie and the team make it very relatable to the teenagers and in that way we hope the message gets across and stays with them. If you know someone has a knife then tell someone. Do not be bystander. If you see something, say something."

Year 10 student, Ella Foxon (15) said: "What shocked me the most was that women are involved in knife crime. You usually only read about men. It made me quite upset to think that this happens."

Harry Rowntree (15) added: "I have not seen a presentation like this before and it does make you feel vulnerable. I know that it is not as bad in this area as it is in others, but seeing the police figures really makes you think, especially about the choices you make."

Oliver Brackenbury (14) said: "It does make you think about being careful who you mix with so that you don't get into situations you really don't want to be in."

Scarlett Swinton (15) said: "I was surprised when they said that girls can be asked to carry knives by their boyfriends and that you can be prosecuted just for being around someone who is carrying a knife. You don't see many women in the media involved in knife crime so it was surprising to me."

Janice Hornby, Principal of Cleethorpes Academy, said: "Children become empowered when they are educated. Even though I know that we are very vigilant and our students feel safe in this environment and they respect the close community we have at Cleethorpes Academy, we are not naive enough to believe these things never happen.

"The way in which this message has been presented today was very powerful and we are very grateful to the whole team for their passion and enthusiasm for helping our students to continue to make the right choices in life."

Campaigners Jack McFaul and Declan Rokahr deliver their powerful rap message against knife crime.

PCSO Chris Wood delivers the statistics on knife crime in the region.

The BBC films the students at Cleethorpes Academy for a special report on Knife Crime in the North, which will air later this month.

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Cleethorpes Academy Principal

Janice Hornby

Tollbar MAT Chief Executive

David J Hampson