South Gloucestershire youngsters fear knife crime
ONE in seven young people in South Gloucestershire say they have felt the need to carry a weapon.
Members of the area’s youth board all said they felt safe where they lived – but they had concerns over how prevalent knife crime is, after seeing news reports or social media posts and get ideas about.
In a survey, the issue came second to mental health in schools, ahead of ending period poverty for local young people.
Although it was not clear how many children had actually carried a knife, three youth board members said that they were aware of at least one young person who had carried a weapon in their school. One person said there was a gang in their area.
Some 2,207 young people from South Gloucestershire were asked if they had ever felt the need to carry a weapon and 302 said yes – one in seven.
Another 147 said they would rather not say.
Among the comments recorded by members of the South Gloucestershire Youth Board, above, were that people saw “what’s happening in London” and a claim that “working class people are more likely to stab people”.
South Gloucestershire Council officer Vanessa Parkhill said it was unclear how many young people had actually carried a knife.
The authority will be inviting them to a meeting later in the year to hear their concerns.
Ending knife crime was the top priority for young people in the national Make Your Mark survey, and they said the Government needs to do more to “end the epidemic”.
Avon and Somerset police has been keen to emphasise that while knife crime is a serious issue, 99 per cent of young people do not carry a knife.
A force spokesperson said: “One of the most important messages we can share with our young people is that carrying a knife is not the norm.
“However we also know that young people can be under tremendous pressure from friends and peers.
“That’s why it’s important that we start the conversation now to make sure they have the facts and support they need to make the right choices.”