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Gangs & Knives In Schools

Most young people and education establishments in Norfolk will not be affected by serious violence or gangs. However gang violence and knife crime is on the increase in Norfolk. 

All schools and colleges have a responsibility to look after their learners. It is also well established that success in learning is one of the most powerful indicators in the prevention of youth crime (Youth Justice Board.gov 2005).

Most students feel safe at their school or college, but it only takes a small amount of youth violence to impact this environment in a negative way. Schools and colleges are places where important interventions can take place to prevent negative behaviour, such as young people carrying a knife, drug dealing and other gang behaviours.

Gang members may groom vulnerable young males and females, incentivising with food, money and offering a sense of belonging and ‘family’. Children are being drawn into gang life by holding, transporting or storing items such as drugs, tools for moped stealing, knives and phones for older gang members. They may also be asked or forced to carry items such as drugs as they are less likely to be stopped by police.

Its not just secondary schools and colleges where interventions can take place. Primary schools are also increasingly recognised as places where early warning signs that younger children may be at risk of getting involved in gangs can be spotted. Important preventative work can be done here to stop negative behaviours from escalating into teen and adult life. 

  • Parents, carers, family members and other adults in children’s lives such as teachers have an incredibly important role to play in helping to protect them from gangs and keeping them away from violence.

    Safer Schools Partnership

    The Safer Schools Partnership (SSP) is a positive way for all schools to demonstrate their commitment to promoting a safe climate of learning and to prevent crime. A Safer Schools Partnership is where Police and schools work together in order to keep young people safe, reduce crime and improve behaviour in schools and their surrounding communities. 

    Safer Schools Partnerships aim to ensure;

    • Safety of pupils, staff and the school site and surrounding area/community.
    • Help for young people to deal with situations that may put them at risk of becoming victims of crime, bullying or intimidation, and to provide support to those who do.
    • Focused enforcement to demonstrate that those that do offend cannot do so without facing consequences.
    • Early identification, support and where necessary challenge of pupils involved in or at risk of offending.
    • Improved standards of pupil behaviour and attendance, and less need for exclusions.
    • More positive relations between young people, the Police and the wider community.
    • Effective approaches to issues beyond the school site that negatively impact on pupil safety and behaviour.

    SSPs help keep pupils safe, reduce the risk of young people getting drawn into crime, antisocial or extremist behaviour.  It improves the safety of the school site and surrounding area, building positive relationships between pupils and police.  It also promotes shared values and improves relations generally within the school and the wider community.

    To find out more about the Safer Schools Partnership in Norfolk *click here*.

    To assist in managing incidences where pupils are believed to be carrying offensive weapons (including knives) on school premises, OFSTED recommends that schools should:

    • have suitable policies and procedures in place for managing the possession of offensive weapons.
    • report all incidents to the police, as appropriate.
    • work with police neighbourhood teams/school liaison officers, and the Youth Offending Service to link in with preventative work.

    Schools should refer to the NPCC’s, When to call the police: Guidance for Schools and Colleges.

    There may be concerns about a young person at your school. You may be told by other students that they are carrying a knife. They may disclose to you of their own volition. 

    Follow your schools safeguarding policies to ensure the immediate safety of the young person and staff and students around them.

    For guidance on safeguarding children who are affected by gang activity *click here*.

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How Can We Help?

Just One Number Call to speak to a health professional by phoning 0300 300 0123. They will be able to provide initial advice and support and guide next steps with us or signpost you to other more relevant agencies and professionals. It is available 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays.

Referrals for support are made by contacting Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Please make sure you have the consent of the parent and / or young person before you make a referral to us. You do not need to fill out any paperwork prior to this call.

Referrals are made via the telephone to enable us to have an informative conversation with you at the point of referral so we can ensure we have all the required information for early triage and assessment of the child, young person or family. This will ensure the referral gets managed by the appropriate team in a more timely way or we can signpost you to a more appropriate service.

ChatHealth Children and Young people can access us through our text messaging service on 07480635060. They will be able to discuss any health concerns with one of our Practitioners and also be able to request an appointment if they would prefer to meet with us.

Parent Line Parents can access our services by texting our number 07520631590 . This allows them to access the advice and support from a clinician about any health issues affecting their children aged 0-19.

Just One Norfolk Health Passport app Young people age 16-19 can download this app on Apple or Android phones. It provides young people age 16-19 with general health information and advice to increase health literacy. It signposts to services and promotes self care. It aims to increase resilience and wellbeing and to find out how to access health services.

Health Unlocked Parents can be signposted to this. It is a carefully monitored online community forum which allows local parents and carers to talk with each other regarding issues affecting their children. This can be accessed through our Just One Norfolk website.

Solihull Parenting Online For our Norfolk parents there is the opportunity to access this free of charge through Just One Norfolk. It supports parents in understanding their children from 0-19 via 4 modules. Staff working with children and families will also benefit from this – or they can book to do the two day Solihull Training provided by our service by contacting karin.bibby@nhs.net. While COVID-19 restrictions are in place please contact Karin Bibby to register your interest in virtual training as this becomes available.

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