More than 5,000 students across 15 schools in Bedfordshire have received assemblies around the devastating impact of knife crime as part of the county’s anti-knife crime campaign ‘Just Drop It’.
Endorsed by PCC Akinbusoye, the Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) ‘Just Drop It’ campaign launched in November by sharing the lived experience of Luton mum Roseann Taylor whose son, Azaan Kaleem, was stabbed to death in 2018.
Roseann has since built a career with the VERU working directly with young people and families at risk of exploitation or falling into violent crime.
This latest campaign success follows the PCC announcing his backing of new laws that seek to help stem the rise in knife crime by banning the sale of zombie knives.
“The sad reality is that the effects of knife crime are rippling viciously throughout our community,” said Mr Akinbusoye.
“Not only as commissioner, or a resident of Bedfordshire, but as a father, the crisis of knife crime and serious violence on our streets is of real concern to me.
“Far too many families have been torn apart as a result of knife crime, while the wider affects on friends, teachers, even sports coaches and other mentors are almost impossible to quantify.
“I welcome the government taking positive and robust steps to strengthen existing knife crime laws. I am also proud to support the efforts of our Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit alongside Bedfordshire Police, who have not waited for announcements like these to take action against knife crime and are actively working to educate our young people, while providing a platform for those directly impacted by knife crime to speak out and influence change.”
The new legislation also includes measures to raise the maximum sentence for the possession of banned weapons from six months to two years and gives the police the power to seize and destroy knives found in homes, if there are reasonable grounds to suspect they will be used for serious crime.
Ahead of the ban’s enforcement later this year, owners are being urged to surrender their weapons in one of the county’s 11 weapon’s bins. From September, anyone in possession of zombie knife will face time behind bars.