Stab wounds shown to young knife criminals

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of teenagers who have been caught carrying knifes are to be shown graphic images of stab wounds in an effort to discourage them from reoffending, it emerged yesterday.

Doctors and nurses will show them real-life pictures of the damage done by blades as part of Government efforts to reduce knife crime. Under the Knife Crime Prevention Programme (KCPP) young offenders will also meet victims of knife crime and ex-criminals who have turned their lives around.

The scheme, run jointly by the Home Office and Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, will also offer anger-management courses and lectures by police on the law on knives.

The Home Office minister, David Hanson, said he hoped it would help turn youngsters away from criminal gangs. He said: "This course brings young people face to face with the consequences of knife crime whatever the reason they carried the knife in the first place.

"These young people could be on the brink of entering serious crime or gang lifestyles. By bringing together the police, local authorities and ex-offenders in this way we hope to prevent this happening and give these young people back their futures."

Following a pilot, the scheme has been extended to areas covered by the Tackling Knives Action Programme. Officials predict 2,000 offenders aged between ten and 17 will pass through it in its first year.

The Schools Minister, Vernon Coaker, said the campaign sent a message to young people that carrying a knife would not be tolerated.

He added: "The vast majority of young people are law-abiding and on the right track to becoming responsible adults. However, those that do break the law must be held accountable. Through this programme young people are being made to acknowledge their crime whilst carrying out their sentences, helping to prevent a repeat offence."

The police forces involved in the Tackling Knives Action Programme are the Metropolitan Police, Essex, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, South Wales and Thames Valley, Bedfordshire, Northumbria, South Yorkshire, Kent and Hampshire.