Bedfordshire Police recently visited Scouts in Barton-le-Clay to speak to them about the risks and consequences of carrying a knife.
Inspector Annita Clarke joined the Scouts and their parents at their meeting on Monday, April 29, as part of the force’s efforts to educate young people about knife crime.
She spoke to them about the dangers of joining a gang, how to stay safe online and the risks of carrying a knife - even if they say they’re carrying it for their own protection. She has now presented on similar topics to around 400 Scouts in Luton, who are all aged between 10 and 14.
Scout leaders were keen for the force to speak to the Scouts about topics including knife crime following the death of Jodie Chesney, she was a 17-year-old Explorer Scout who was stabbed in Romford in March.
The Schools Liaison Team and Boson team, dedicated to tackling guns, gangs and serious youth violence, continue to give inputs across the county to ensure young people are fully aware of the consequences and dangers of carrying a knife.
Inspector Clarke, from the force’s Luton North Community Policing Team, said: “I think Jodie’s sad death hit home amongst the Scouting community.
“Too many young people are losing their lives to knife crime, and we’re working hard to tackle this in a number of ways. As well as operational activity, it’s really important that we speak to our young people about what is happening.
“Although I was there to discuss some incredibly serious topics with them, it was a pleasure to meet the Scouts.
“I also spoke to them about online bullying and grooming, and gave advice about how they can stay safe. I was really pleased that they said they felt they could speak to a trusted adult or the police if they had concerns.”
The Scouts’ Assistant District Commissioner James Hinkins said: “It was a thoroughly informative night and we look at continuing it on further and helping the Scouts understand how to keep themselves safe.
“It is fantastic being a part of this partnership and if we can stop just one young person getting involved in crime, I think we’ve achieved something.”