New knife crime toolkit

The Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has just published a new Knife Crime Toolkit designed for professionals to use with children and young people who are at risk of carrying or using a knife.

The toolkit is aimed at staff in Youth Offending Teams for young people on court orders or prevention programmes, and at youth workers, Early Help and other social care officers, teachers and school staff and staff in secure settings.

The Toolkit has been designed by BraveSpace, a youth justice consultancy organisation based in South-East London, in partnership with young people and staff from Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham and Lewisham; and with the graphic design skills of young people from Haringey and Islington engaging with Wipers Youth project. Wipers is a youth justice social enterprise based in East London which specialises in working with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. The toolkit forms part of the Mayor’s Knife Crime Strategy.

The resource is designed as a toolkit, a suite of intervention sessions from which professionals can select those which apply to the needs and circumstances of individual young people. All of the sessions can be adapted for use in one to one or group settings, as applicable.

The toolkit has a built in Life Star evaluation tool which allows young people to make their own judgements about how they rate their life in eight different domains (school, family, friends, home, risk, independence, happiness and hope) both before and after the intervention.

The toolkit is a comprehensive 37 page document which includes a large number of standalone interventions, most lasting between 30 minutes and one hour, including:

Basic information sessions

  • What is an offensive weapon?
  • The likely sentencing for offensive weapon offences

Key cognitive behavioural interventions

  • Consequential thinking
  • Impulsivity in decision-making
  • Stress, fear and related thinking processes

Skills-based interventions

  • Negotiation skills
  • Learning the difference between being aggressive, passive and assertive

Legal rights

  • Understanding stop and search
  • Understanding knife bins
  • Joint enterprise (how people can be prosecuted for an attack even if they were not physically present)

Other sessions help young people to understand the nature and effect of trauma on their experience, development and behaviour, explain the concept of “toxic” masculinity and explore criminal exploitation and look at the impact of knife crimes on victims and their families.

The toolkit also provides signposting to a wide range of resources for guidance and support within the London area and includes information on the National Referral Mechanism, for young people who may be being trafficked and exploited. In order to make the interventions as impactful and accessible as possible, the toolkit also includes a substantial list of additional resources, mostly in online video format which can be used to help many any of the individual sessions more engaging.

Readers interested in the toolkit can download it for free here.