Partners celebrate completion of The Happening – knife crime initiative
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Partners and officials visited our state-of-the-art knife crime educational space at Sleaford Police Station to celebrate its completion ahead of its official launch next month.
The Happening – knife crime initiative is an immersive, educational experience that aims to prevent and divert young people away from carrying a knife and being involved in serious violence.
It will challenge thinking, capture the reality, and look to dispel the myths and remove the glamour that is spoken about openly within young people’s lives and social media streams.
The project has been built within the station’s old custody suite and has seen a number of rooms converted into state-of-the-art spaces centred around knife crime.
Each room is unique and utilises real world props, videos, graffiti, posters, written content and more to help educate and inform young people.
The project has been a collaborative effort involving key individuals such as LIVES, Crimestoppers, Lincoln College, Image Skool, Visual Print and Design and Allen Signs, HMP Lincoln and the University of Lincoln.
Local authorities and the Home Office, via the Homicide Prevention Fund, have also provided significant support.
With the centre set to welcome its first students in January, officials and partners were invited to tour the facility earlier this week on Monday, 4 December.
Visiting The Happening for the first time since its completion, Lincolnshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Chris Davison said: “I’m immensely proud of everyone who has been involved and it’s not just been the police, it’s been a lot of other partners too.
“I think this will be one of, if not the premiere facility of its type in the country. It’s been done in consultation with academics at the University of Lincoln and I think it will make a huge difference for young people and reduce the chances of them getting involved in knife crime and serious violence. I think it’s something the whole county can use and be proud of. I’m extremely proud.
“I think it’s really important that we’ve got something like this in Lincolnshire. One of the things that is always difficult to measure is prevention. but we know the earlier you use preventative measures the greater your chances of or preventing a tragedy occurring are. Lincolnshire, while it is a very safe county, is not immune to knife crime and sadly it can happen.
“This is a world class facility that is designed to prevent knife crime occurring at a very early age and I think this significantly raises the safety of the county, not just now but for generations to come.”
Councillor Patricia Bradwell, Deputy Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “I think it’s a great centre that will make young people think about using a knife and injuring someone.
“I think it’s been done in a really smart way with each room focusing on different things such as stabbing someone, or the hospital room where someone would be brought into A&E – these are different scenarios young people will go through.
“And one hopes that when they leave and go out, they will really think about actually using a knife.
“This is about prevention and bringing people in here to try to get them to realise how serious it is to carry a knife. What we don’t want young people to do is to stab someone and then have to go into the youth justice system.
“This is a fantastic facility and the group who have created it have worked with young people, so this is built on what young people have been telling us.”
Councillor Rob Kendrick, Chairman of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee at Lincolnshire Count Council, said: “I’m very impressed with the centre, I’m very impressed with the graphics, the design and the engagement of local people, particularly young people.
“It makes it very relevant to Lincolnshire rather than having an imported thing from a big city and I think it’s going to be very useful.
“As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. And if young people can be made aware of the dangers and complications of carrying knives and can desist in doing that after coming through this centre then I think that’s a good job done.”
Katie Marshall, Senior Clinical Skills/Simulation Technician at the University of Lincoln, said: “The university is proud to have supported Lincolnshire Police with this important initiative, providing support and equipment to help enhance the educational and immersive experience of the simulated hospital room.
“Students within our School of Health and Social Care are directly affected by the outcomes of knife crime, both during and after their training, and immersive initiatives like this help to highlight the dangers of knife crime to young people and foster a deeper understanding of its consequences. In doing so we hope to create a safer future for everyone.
“We are honoured to be recognised as a partner in this vital initiative and are committed to supporting Lincolnshire Police's broader education offer for the well-being of our community.”
PCC Marc Jones said: “Incidents of knife crime, while still few in Lincolnshire, have devastating consequences for all of those involved. This project, funded by my office, is just one of the steps – but an important one – in eradicating violence from our communities.
“The project seeks to educate youngsters on the horrific consequences of knife crime for victims, offenders, and their families. If we can divert one person from this path. then it is worthwhile.
“This pilot is just one of a number of projects that are part of a £3 million violence reduction programme I have committed to.
“I am determined to do everything possible to keep our communities safe.”
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Project Support Officer Katie Nicholls said: “When visiting The Happening, it was clear that this project and experience has been well thought out.
“The experience has been tailored for different key stage groups to ensure the content is relatable and therefore impactful.
“I look forward to hearing the success stories coming from individuals who have visiting The Happening and how it has impacted their lives.”
Detective Superintendent Suzanne Davies, lead for violence against women and girls at Lincolnshire Police, said: “It’s got the wow factor – I’m also struck by how different it is. It really is about young people, built for young people. As adults, we don’t always get it, we don’t always connect. Seeing the centre completed now – I’m blown away.
“This is all about prevention and education, this is not about the criminal justice system. This is about saving lives and if we can educate young people about the dangers of carrying a knife and myth-bust around knives it will be an incredibly valuable resource.
“This has got to be about education and prevention and everyone working in partnership, but most importantly, we’ve got to put young people at the heart of the centre and the centre has got to work for them.”
Kirsty Raywood, Head of Sales at LIVES, visited the centre alongside her colleague Karla McKeever and said: “After attending the partnership event for The Happening, initiatives like these are really important in educating the next generation in knife crime.
“LIVES were delighted to be part of the development of this project, collaborating with our blue light colleagues. It takes a team to save a life.”
Lincolnshire Police Sergeant Mel Standbrook, who has brought the project together, said: I’m so incredibly proud of what we as an education team have created for young people in Lincolnshire.
“It has been a challenging project at times, and we have had to utilise strengths and skillsets from many organisations and partners but now we are ready to open it has made the journey absolutely worth it.
“This experience is incredibly visual and speaks to all of our senses to make the impact of education strong.
“We absolutely love it as a team and I’m confident that young people of Lincolnshire will also love it and gain a completely different outlook to activities within their lives – not only centred around knife enabled crime – the centre truly offers another view.”