Knife crime has been announced as the new subject for Northamptonshire County Schools Challenge (NCSC) 2019.
Schools across the county are already signing up to take part in this annual competition which asks students to create social enterprise ideas to help educate or support their peers on a particular subject.
The aim of this year’s challenge is to help students gain a greater awareness of the dangers of carrying a bladed weapon, help prevent knife crime and reduce the number of injuries caused by using a bladed weapon.
PCSO Alex Franklin, a member of the NCSC steering group, launched the new subject by delivering a talk at Kettering Science Academy, one of the schools taking part.
In the coming weeks, more talks will be delivered at different schools to introduce the subject to pupils who have signed up to take part.
PCSO Franklin said: “Knife crime has been on the rise in Northamptonshire in recent years, with 1235 incidents taking place in 2017 to 2018.
“We know there are more young people nowadays carrying knives so using the County Schools Challenge seems to be a perfect way to reach a key target audience to talk about knife crime.
“Unfortunately so many youngsters get involved with knives without really thinking through the dangers these weapons pose, perhaps mistakenly connecting knives with safety and protection. The truth of the matter is carrying a knife can only mean greater risk to you or to someone else and the consequences can be devastating.
“I really look forward to seeing what this year’s County Schools Challenge teams come up with. Young people have such a great influence on each other, the ideas coming from this year’s topic could end up saving lives.”
NCSC, which is now in its 10th year, is usually run with year eight or nine pupils and most schools carry out an in-house competition to identify one team to then take part in the semi-finals and present to a Dragons’ Den style panel.
The best teams from the semis are put forward for the grand final, where they have the opportunity to win £2,000 and the right support to turn their social enterprise idea into a reality.
Previous subjects have included road safety, drugs and psychoactive substances, healthy relationships and e-safety.
Organisers are currently accepting applications from schools hoping to put forward teams for the 2019 challenge. Representatives from schools are welcome to email NCSC at email@example.com or call Henny Cameron on 101, extension 345678.
Information relating to knife crime, or about anyone who carries a knife, can be reported via 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The final will take place on July 8, 2019 at The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough.
Tackling knife crime is one of Northamptonshire Police’s priorities as part of Operation Viper, the force's crackdown on serious and organised crime. Information relating to knife crime, or about anyone who carries a knife, can be reported via 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.