Young people urged to report pals carrying blades in new drive to cut knife crime and save lives in Manchester

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Residents are being urged to #SpeakOutToSaveaLife to help tackle knife crime

Knife crime campaigners and youth workers are urging residents to speak out against knife crime following a wave of deadly violence which has shocked Greater Manchester.

The Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Uni (VRU) has released a short film asking people to #SpeakOutToSaveaLife.

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It is aimed at young people, parents and teachers and is also part of ongoing work trying to reduce violence in the city-region.

Three young people have lost their lives in fatal stabbings in Greater Manchester in recent weeks.

What is the #SpeakOutToSaveaLife video and why has it been produced?

The short film is one of a number of measures which are being rolled out across Greater Manchester to try to prevent future tragedies occurring.

A youth worker, teacher, young person, and community worker who has turned his life around after being involved in violence all feature in the 90-second video that has been shared on social media and sent to schools,

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It follows last year’s introduction of navigators, skilled youth workers in A&E departments who can refer young people and families coming into hospital as a result of violence to outreach and support.

So far 260 young people have been referred to the navigators and the scheme has recently expanded to accept referrals from the community and via the North West Ambulance Service.

There is also a knife amnesty at police stations across Greater Manchester where weapons can be dumped in a bin with no questions asked.

What has been happening in Greater Manchester recently?

Three young people have been fatally stabbed in Greater Manchester within the space of a few weeks.

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Kennie Carter, a 16-year-old from Stretford, died in hospital on Saturday 22 January from a fatal stab wound to the chest on Thirlmere Avenue earlier that evening.

Kennie Carter who died after being stabbed in Manchester Credit: GMPKennie Carter who died after being stabbed in Manchester Credit: GMP
Kennie Carter who died after being stabbed in Manchester Credit: GMP

In total 11 arrests have been made in the murder investigation, with five suspects on bail with conditions not to enter Stretford. Police are continuing to appeal for information.

Three teenagers were arrested and taken into custody for questioning on Tuesday 8 February.

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The third victim was 20-year-old Dylan Keelan, who was fatally stabbed on Cheetham Hill Road in Dukinfield at around 9.30pm on Friday 4 February.

A 17-year-old was charged with murder and threatening a person with a blade or sharply pointed article in a public place.

What have the authorities said about the video and the recent stabbings?

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire, Bev Hughes, said: “My thoughts are with the families and friends of the three young people tragically killed in recent weeks and all communities affected by violence and knife crime.

“There is no place for violence in our city-region. We are committed to strong police enforcement to address violent crime and to trying to prevent it from happening in this first place, but this requires partners to continue to work together with young people and communities to create long-term change.

Baroness Beverley Hughes. Photo: Martin Rickett/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesBaroness Beverley Hughes. Photo: Martin Rickett/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Baroness Beverley Hughes. Photo: Martin Rickett/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

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“As these recent events have all too sadly demonstrated, there is much work to be done to end serious violence and we will not stop in our efforts to do that.

“We need everyone’s help to end violence amongst young people. If you see anything that doesn’t feel right involving your child, a family member or a friend please speak out. Contact the police, school, or another trusted adult to get help and keep them safe.”

What have the police said?

Greater Manchester Police’s knife crime lead, Defective Superintendent Chris Downey, said: “GMP is working with partner agencies on several initiatives to keep people safe from these weapons which, in the hands of criminals, are stealing lives, devastating families and posing threat, harm and risk to our communities.

“That being said, we all have a part to play when it comes to tackling the issue. Teachers, parents, guardians and extended family members, you can all play a vital role in preventing young people from becoming involved in knife crime, and we advise you to try to talk to them openly about the dangers, as well as the life-changing consequences that come from carrying a knife.

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“If you know or suspect someone carries a knife, I ask you to contact police as soon as possible before it is too late. If you have any other information about crime, please share that too.

“I would also like to reach out to the young people within our communities and ask them to report or share any concerns (even anonymously) regarding themselves or friends that are involved in a dispute, violence or carrying a knife.

“It’s not right to stand by and do nothing. This is not about getting friends in trouble; in the vast majority of instances our involvement is about keeping people safe and understanding why someone feels the need to carry a weapon.

“Neither GMP nor the justice system will tolerate this type of crime – we are proactively stopping and searching individuals and I would remind offenders that carrying a knife can result in a prison sentence and life-long criminal record.”