The Steer Clear team recently visted Telford Priory School to deliver workshops to year groups seven, eight and nine. The aim of the workshops was to give students the opportunity to raise their concerns, discuss what they know about knife crime and how they feel it can best be addressed as well as the impact of knife crime on victims and families, emergency services and the general public, and the person who commits the offence.

Youth worker and former gang member, Ben Butler, also talked about how he turned his life around after being involved in knife crime as a young boy. The workshops were followed by a question and answer session; this led to many questions from students who wanted to know how the police are tackling knife crime. Students also sought further knowledge on the role of a police officer and how the police help young people more widely.

The Steer Clear Programme is a new, intelligence led project aimed at young people under the age of 18 years are believed to be on the periphery of knife related crime. The programme aims are to safeguard and prevent the criminalisation of these young people and consists of a multi agency team from West Mercia Police, West Midlands Ambulance Service, Youth Justice Service, the Education Service, the Local Authority Children’s Safeguarding team, charities YSS and Energize, and Ben Butler, a youth worker with ‘lived experiences’.

The team will be returning to the school to carry out a further workshop with year 10; there has already been a significant interest shown from other schools in the area and the team are looking forward to working with the young people of Telford through their intervention programme.