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Leeds pupils become junior detectives in knife crime scheme

Image caption, The Year 8 students were taught how evidence is collected from a crime scene

  • Author, Dave Edwards
  • Role, BBC Look North

School pupils in Leeds have become junior detectives as part of a police scheme aiming to tackle knife crime.

A group of Year 8 students from Leeds City Academy were taught how to investigate a crime scene during an exercise in Headingley on Tuesday.

Dressed in forensic overalls, the 12 and 13-year-old pupils were taken through a fictional scenario and discovered how evidence such as footprints are collected by specialist teams.

Police said they hoped the experience would discourage young people from carrying knives.

It comes amid a 5% rise in knife crime nationally, according to The Ben Kinsella Trust, a charity which educates young people about the dangers of carrying knives.

One of the participants, Robert, said interviewing a fictitious victim of knife crime as part of the exercise had been “one of the most intense experiences”.

Ch Insp Lucy Leadbeater, of West Yorkshire Police, said she hoped the pupils would relay what they’d been told to their fellow students.

“These young people will become knife crime ambassadors and we hope they’ll go back and discuss with their peers what they’ve learnt and the key messages we’re trying to get across,” she said.

Image caption, Ch Insp Lucy Leadbeater says any child hurt by a knife was “one too many”

“We’ve seen a number of incidents both nationally and in West Yorkshire – any child that gets hurt as a result of knife crime is one too many.”

Anthony Taylor, from the St Giles Trust charity, said knife crime was a major problem “up and down” the country.

The charity sends volunteers to schools to talk about their real-life experiences and educate young people about various issues in society.

Mr Taylor said: “With the epidemic of knife crime we have, these kids need educating on what to do and what not to do in certain situations.

“Even the quieter suburbs of Leeds are still having troubles with knives and we need to eradicate that.”

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