Hundreds of Three Rivers students learned about knife crime at council-run event

NewsUpdated: 20 February 2024Crime and safety

Three Rivers children, young people and parents learned about the devastating impact of knife violence at a council-run event.

Three Rivers District Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Officer, Kimberley Utley, organised and ran three events supported by Herts Police at Watersmeet in Rickmansworth from Tuesday, 6 February to Wednesday, 7 February to talk about knife crime and its consequences.

Anti-violence campaigner Alison Cope, who tragically lost her son Joshua Ribera to knife crime in 2013, spoke to 210 year 7 students at St Joan of Arc School in Rickmansworth about the effect of knife crime through her own experience and delivered an anti-violence workshop.

Over 60 parents, professionals and young people attended a youth and violent crime awareness evening where Alison Cope and Russell Symons from Impressionable Minds, which educate young people on a variety of topics, talked about knife crime and gang culture.

Nearly 190 Year 6 students from different schools within Three Rivers attended the final event. Alison Cope talked about the effects of social media and knife crime, which was then followed by Herts Young Homeless discussing conflict resolution and two sessions with an introduction to Mental Health from WithYouth and The Grooming Cycle by Herts Police.

Cllr Steve Drury, Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships, said: “It is important more than ever that our children and young people know of the devastating effects that knife crime and violence have on people from reliable and trustworthy sources, such as these wonderful workshops.

“I attended the event on Tuesday, and I was impressed with the speakers who were very interesting and passionate about the issues.

“I thank everyone involved in educating our young people about these very important issues, empowering them to reject peer pressure and make better decisions if they are faced with conflict or risk.”

Kimberley Utley said: “It is great that workshops also educated parents and professionals on this issue as well as have a session for students to learn about mental health and perhaps open some of those harder conversations. Everyone has mental health and this should be discussed with our young people.

“I hope that our event and workshops have better-equipped parents, professionals and students to understand the effects of knife crime. I am confident that it will give the Year 6 students the skills they need ahead of their transition to secondary school.”