Schools officer teaches children vital lesson about knife crime
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Schoolkids have received an important lesson about the dangers of carrying a knife from their dedicated police officer.
Pupils at The Dukeries Academy in Ollerton are used to the sight of PC Sally Cartwright walking along the school corridors.
As Newark and Sherwood’s dedicated schools and early intervention officer (SEIO), she visits the school each week to speak to the children.
PC Cartwright’s assemblies focus on a wide range of different topics – from staying safe online to knowing about the role of organised crime groups.
The risks and consequences associated with knife carrying is another lesson the officer delivers in school halls packed with pupils on a regular basis.
As well as the dangers of carrying a knife and how this could land them in trouble, the sessions highlight all sorts of facts, like the offensive weapons it’s illegal to even keep inside a house.
“Kids do know a lot more than we think,” said PC Cartwright.
“They all know carrying a knife is wrong and because of the online world, they know the difference between different type of knives.
“But they don’t know as much about offensive weapons, or realise the risks and consequences of carrying them.
“During these sessions, we speak about these consequences and the dangers of carrying a knife and other weapons.
“It’s so important to speak about these things because some people do carry knives and I think a lot of young people think everyone is carrying a knife, and obviously that’s not the case.”
PC Cartwright paid The Dukeries Academy a visit to speak to Year 7 pupils in the lead up to national campaign Operation Sceptre, which began on Monday (15 May) and is running all this week.
She added: “Operation Sceptre is a really important week and raises lots of awareness about knife crime.
“As an example, I think it’s important that young people realise they can bring any knives and weapons to a police station for them to be destroyed properly.
“During this assembly, people thought it was just okay to put unused knives in a normal bin, where they could then fall into the wrong hands.
“Obviously, that’s not the case, so providing that education is really important.”
As part of the week of action, Nottinghamshire Police has set up knife amnesty bins inside 12 of its stations, shared services and other locations across the county, where they will remain until Sunday (21 May).
Permanent knife amnesty bins can also be found inside Newark, Mansfield, Oxclose Lane and Radford Road stations.
PC Cartwright visits all the secondary schools and colleges across Newark and Sherwood as part of her role as a schools and early intervention officer.
The force currently has 12 SEIOs in post working across the county, with this engagement allowing them to educate children on a range of important issues, while also building positive relationships in the community.
Having previously worked as a response officer for 20 years before becoming a schools officer last year, PC Cartwright was quick to emphasise how rewarding – and important – the role is.
She said: “Having a good relationship between young people and the police is really important.
“There are lots of misconceptions around the police, so it’s a good thing we get to build relationships with young people and that they get to know and trust us.
“Most of the kids engage really well – certainly I’m in all my secondary schools on a weekly basis, so I’ve become a familiar face around school and have some great interactions with them.
“Being a schools officer is a rewarding job.
“I was on response for 20 years prior to this, and it is a very different role but I find there are lots of little wins in this role, so it is a very rewarding job.”