Anti-knife classes for teens

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Children under 16 caught with knives will face compulsory classes on the danger of carrying blades.

Plans to prosecute, rather than caution, all over-16s found with weapons will be backed by a drive against the use of knives among younger teenagers. The moves were announced at an emergency summit called at Downing Street after a series of fatal stabbings in London.

Under-16s found carrying knives will be cautioned and also referred to a knife education scheme. It will set out the damage that blades can do to the body and warn young people that the simple act of carrying a knife makes them more vulnerable to attack.

Their parents may receive orders to compel them to take an active role in changing their child's behaviour. The moves follow alarm over the falling average age of knife-crime victims and offenders.

Gordon Brown, said: "We have to send out a message and reinforce it with immediate action.

"Young people need to understand that carrying knives doesn't protect you. It does the opposite – it increases the danger for allof us, destroys young lives and ruins families."