A CURV-funded project aims to show school children the shocking consequences of carrying a knife.
Drop the Knife is part of the six-month Role Models programme run by national league basketball Teesside Lions,
Role Models has been funded with £30,000 from Cleveland Violence Reduction Partnership CURV, which sits within the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.
The first part of the campaign is a half-hour presentation to 300 schoolchildren. It shows how Teesside Lions, Role Models and the sport of basketball can provide a positive direction for young people.
The presentation also gives professional coaches and players, like James Thomson, the chance to show off some tricks of the trade. They include spinning a basketball on a finger and juggling.
The second part of the presentation shows young people the dangers of carrying knives.
Paramedics from Stockton-based CIPHER Medical demonstrate a lifelike simulation of a stabbing on a medical dummy.
They talk through what is happening and show how to treat a knife wound. The re-enactment is so realistic that the dummy even sprays blood from the wound!
By showing the true consequences of knife crime, the simulation aims to discourage young people from carrying blades. It also teaches them what to do in an emergency until paramedics arrive.
The Head of CURV, John Holden said: “This campaign shows the positive benefits of sport while simultaneously highlighting the negative consequences of being drawn into violence and crime.”
Drop the Knife will see 10,000 leaflets distributed across the area in the coming weeks. They feature basketball coaches James Thomson, Argentinean Cacu Amenanno and Oliver Hylands urging people to Take 5, Not a Life, Drop the Knife.
The campaign encourages people to use basketball-shaped stress balls to relieve stress or anger when faced with difficult situations.
James Thomson, Chairman and basketball coach at Teesside Lions, said “Drop the Knife is a more direct message. We are hoping our influence will engage with young people who may have once considered carrying a knife.
“School engagement is key, especially in our ability to connect with young people and deter them from a potential life of crime before it happens.
“If we can engage with young people, who may be on the periphery of criminal activity or antisocial behaviour, we are confident we can influence many of them to follow a more positive path and help change lives.
“In turn, this saves money for organisations such as the police and public health in terms of the lower cost of crime.”