A campaign by Kent Police to educate people of all ages on the dangers of carrying a knife is taking place in Ashford throughout February and March.
Organised by Ashford Community Safety Unit, the focus of the campaign is to raise awareness of knife crime, and provide advice to help people in the district identify when someone they know could be at risk of exploitation by criminals.
The campaign, which is supported by partner agencies, was first held last year and following the positive response from residents, officers have again planned a number of events and activities which will be aimed at school children, their parents and the wider community.
Presentations are planned for youth clubs and all secondary schools in the district, where officers and guest speakers will speak about their true-life experiences and their work against knife crime. Working with the Volunteer Police Cadets, officers will be out and about speaking to residents, shoppers and business owners in the communities across Ashford. There will also be parent and guardian information evenings held in Ashford and Tenterden between 26 February and 27 March for people to attend and learn how to safeguard their children against becoming involved in drug and knife crime.
District Commander for Ashford, Chief Inspector Nick Sparkes said: ‘This campaign was initially organised as our district response to concerns that violent crime and disorder associated with knives was increasing across the country in recent years.
‘While in Kent we have seen a reduction in knife crime, we recognise the impact just one incident can have on a community and as safety is our priority, we believe it is important to continue educating people to help deter future issues.
‘Businesses have their part to play in keeping Ashford safe and during the campaign our officers will be visiting shops to remind them of their responsibilities when selling knives.
‘We hope people will find the parent and guardian sessions beneficial. It may seem unlikely that your child will get involved in criminal activity but it is essential that you know what to look out for, and where to get help if it does happen.
‘It is important that people realise that carrying a knife can lead to serious, and even fatal, consequences.
‘Our campaign is to help people feel empowered against knife crime and ensure Ashford remains a safe place to live.’
To reserve a space at the parent and guardian sessions visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/united-kingdom–kent/knife-crime-prevention-ashford/