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Year 9 students develop ways to tackle knife crime

Yesterday, PSCO Steve Coles launched this year’s Northamptonshire County Schools Challenge to Year 9 students in their assembly.

During the assembly, PCSO Steve Coles announced this year theme as ‘Knife Crime’ and spoke about the increased amount of knife crimes in the county. Steve then went on to explain the implications and myths of carrying a knife before speaking about this year’s competition and the skills the students could gain from taking part.

The competition tasks students from secondary schools across Northamptonshire to use a business like approach to develop creative ways to tackle a social problem by creating a product or service. Last year’s theme was ‘Road Safety’ and a group of Year 9 students from our school consisting of Kelechi, Paris and Annabelle made in through to the final with their road safety video ‘Be Sensible’.

Students competing in the competition this year have worked in groups to develop a project or service. The students with the seven best ideas were then interviewed by a panel of judges consisting of PSCO Steve Cloes, County Schools Challenge Co-ordinator Henny Cameron, Julie McGreavy from the Neighbourhood Policing Team and Tina Collett from Northants Fire and Rescue. The three teams with best ideas then presented their ideas to peers and the panel of judges before before they chosen one group to represent the school at the semi-finals held at Northamptonshire Police Headquarters. Here the students will go up against 30 other schools from the county and will pitch their ideas in front of a group of judges. The students will also get to visit the dog unit and fire service.

If the team successfully make it through to the finals, they will go up against seven other schools and showcase their idea and business plan in a ‘Dragons Den format for the chance to win £2,000 to develop their project. The event will be held at The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough and the judging panel will consist of business, public sector and community leaders.

PSCO Steve Coles said: ‘The concept of the competition was about moving away from coming into schools, delivering a piece of work and assembly that described a problem that essential young people are a part of. We wanted to turn this around and invite the young people to be part of the solution instead. If students feel they are part of solution and have worked on and researched the topic then not only does it increase their understanding of the problem but they are much less likely to actually become part of the activity.

‘We started the project around 9 years ago with the aim of reducing arson attacks. It was a prominent problem in Northamptonshire and a wheelie bin fire led to the death of young boy in Wellingborough. The effect of the campaign had a massive effect and we realised the impact the Northamptonshire Country Schools Challenge could have.’

 ‘This year, we have chosen ‘Knife Crime’ as a topic as you only have to turn on TV and you hear a story on the news about a knife crime. Although figures are a lot lower in Northamptonshire compared to other larger counties, they are still increasing. It’s a problem that the students can easily understand and I am really looking forward to seeing what the students’ solutions look like.’

Northamptonshire Police run the event in partnership with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue and Crimestoppers.