Fear should never drive someone to carrying a knife – and help is close at hand for anyone who is afraid.
That is the message from the co-founder of a Nottingham charity which aims to help young people reach their full potential in education, live healthy lives and be the best they can be for their families and communities.
Maxine Cockett, of Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges, spoke out today in support of Operation Sceptre, a week-long national campaign against knife crime.
“My message for anyone thinking of carrying a knife is please, please don’t - because once you carry a knife, if you get involved in an altercation, it’s more than likely that you will use that weapon and then you’ll be facing a long prison sentence. Also, you’ll be facing a lot of trauma,” she said.
“So what we are saying to young people is there is a way out. You don’t have to carry a knife. There’s many organisations in the city, if you are living in fear or you are frightened. You can contact any of these organisations who can help you to combat that fear, because having a knife is not the answer and it is not the solution.”
Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges engages in variety of youth work to help divert young people from violence and give them a positive outlet. This includes football training sessions, youth clubs, mentoring and street work.
The street work involves two teams who usually take to the streets from 3pm to 7pm on weekdays and 12pm until 6pm on Saturdays. They chat to young people in Nottingham city centre and disperse any groups that may be causing trouble for pedestrians by finding them alternative places to go.
They do a lot of their work in the Clumber Street area of Nottingham city centre. The vibrant shopping destination is one of the busiest streets in Europe, making it a magnet for young people to congregate.
Maxine added: “Most young people know this street and a lot of young people congregate on this street. So if you see our team, come up to us and say hello.
“For those who don’t know us, we are here walking these streets and keeping young people safe. We are here to keep Nottingham safe. We walk up and down Clumber Street. We also do the whole of the city centre.
“We have Business Improvement District (BID) radios so the shopkeepers can call us if they see any altercations. Woodlands who are in control of the cameras – they will call us too – also the police. Also, young people can contact us via Instagram and also by our phones. If they are in danger, we will come to help you. We are here to defuse any situation.
“We do come out six days a week, four hours a day. So we are very visible and we are here to help Nottingham be a safer place for young people.”
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, her Violence Reduction Unit, Nottinghamshire Police and other partners are supporting Operation Sceptre this week by putting the spotlight on some of the work they do all year round to prevent and respond to knife crime and support victims.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “I’ve been out with Maxine and her team and seen them in action.
“I was so impressed with the relationship they have with young people and their skills and experience in engaging with them and defusing potential flashpoints.”
For more information about Breaking Barrier, Building Bridges, visit 4bbbb.org.uk