Spoiled For Choice. Official Launch


Yesterday saw the official launch of an ambitious project by Northumbria Police and Fairbridge Tyne and Wear to raise awareness in the Northumbria Police area of the issues surrounding knife crime and young people.

The project entitled Spoiled for Choice is an education resource pack, aimed at tackling the worrying trend of young people (primarily aged 13–18) that choose to carry a knife, either to boost their confidence or for self protection.

A number of similar schemes exist across the country, through the Tackling Knives Action Program, which have increased awareness through schemes such as It Doesn’t Have to Happen and Medics Against Violence, (Violence Reduction Unit in Scotland), but this initiative differs in its emphasis on choices, and the consequences of those choices.

The pack which will be distributed to secondary schools across the NP region, consists of a 2 disc, easy to use format. The first disc comprises a specially commissioned, innovative interactive, short drama, MUG. Local film makers, Primate Productions,  worked with young people in the region to co-write, direct and film the drama, adapted from a story by Lynn Boyes at Newcastle’s, Youth Offending Team. The  film stops at pivotal points within the story, so that the viewer can make a choice, in which direction they wish the story to progress.

Accompanying the drama is an extremely emotive, hard hitting documentary, Moment of Madness, involving real life, interviews with Doctors, Police, Ambulance Crews and the Families of victims of knife crime, which hammers home the reality of the wrong choice and its lasting consequences.

The second disc in the pack contains the accompanying teacher/youth worker lesson plans and has been developed by Karl Harms at Newcastle Children’s Services, to provide structured discussion topics and teacher notes to reinforce the message from the drama.

Instead of the usual hotel banqueting suite, corporate launch venue, the organisers, took the brave decision to launch this major educational offensive, in a (slightly chilly) dis-used warehouse in Newcastle. The organisers deliberately wanted the invited audience of teachers, police and youth workers to feel “out of their comfort zone” to connect with the gritty message of the resource being presented. The Pack is a credit to the whole team involved. It will be rolled out across schools from the 19th November, and if it makes even one child stop and consider the utter stupidity of carrying a knife it will be worth the efforts of all involved.

For further details of this project contact Northumbria Police, Harm Reduction Unit.

By Holliday on November 20, 2009

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