The event was organised in response to increasing rates of knife crime amongst young people as reported by the Mayor’s Office which states 3877 victims of knife crime 2015-16 – a rise of 16%.The conference welcomed over 50 schools from across London and the South East who were addressed by speakers that included Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime, Richard Taylor (OBE), founder of the Damilola Taylor Trust, the Met Police and senior Home Office officials representing Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Safeguarding. Amongst the numerous topics covered was the need for more visible positive role models for children and a need to understand and track student well-being in schools. Attendees were urged to take practical steps in their schools and in addition to info sheets from the Met Police and free safeguarding lesson plans, EduKit offered a free student well-being pack in order to support the safeguarding efforts of schools.“We are deeply disturbed by newly released statistics that suggest that the number of children carrying knives in London schools has doubled in five years” states EduKit CEO Nathalie Richards. “However, it was very encouraging to see forward thinking teachers and safeguarding leads coming together with specialist community groups to be proactive in devising strategies to prevent more students being impacted by this worrying trend”City Hall is also keen to explore preventative solutions to keep young people safe in the capital. Sophie Linden, DMPC who spoke at the conference stated that “…the best response to tackling knife crime is prevention and to work to ensure the offence does not happen in the first place”. She then spoke of the support already available to young people, their families and schools and mentioned her forthcoming Crime Strategy that would outline plans to further support at risk communities in future.The conference also offered an opportunity for grass roots community groups to engage with schools with participation from Kiyan Prince Foundation, Damilola Taylor Trust, Ben Kinsella Trust, Crimestoppers amongst others. Attendees were encouraged to reach out to EduKit to discuss the range of free and low-cost support available to schools to help keep students safe.
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