St Helens Council is backing a local campaign to reduce incidents of knife crime in the borough, led publicly in St Helens by the family of 29 year-old Daniel Fox, who died after suffering a fatal stab wound in September 2016.
The campaign will soon see knife wands utilised by door staff at 27 clubs and bars in the town centre and across the borough as a further deterrent, keeping visitors to the night time economy safe. These handheld metal-detecting devices can be quickly swept over the body by door staff before entry.
Local bar owners met with community safety partners at St Helens Town Hall to welcome the move, which is funded by St Helens Council.
The #NoMoreKnives campaign was launched in December in Victoria Square by friends and family of Daniel Fox, who spoke of their desire to see young people steered away from carrying knives.
Lynda Ashton, Daniel’s mum said:
“My life sentence started in the early hours of Friday, September 2, 2016. Looking forward, we hope to prevent other families going through this horrendous nightmare and the life sentence that we are now living, without our beloved son.
“I wish I could make people understand that my grief will last forever because my love for Daniel will last forever; that the loss of a child is not one finite event, it is a continuous loss that will unfold minute by minute, second by second over the course of my lifetime.”
Much of the council’s work on the campaign is focused on education, to be undertaken through schools with 12-16 year olds by St Helens’ Young Advisors – young people aged 15-24 who are locally recruited and professionally trained by the national Young Advisors Charity to provide links between professionals, young people and their communities.
The campaign is supported by St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Councillor Lisa Preston, who said: “It’s crucial that we educate children and young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying knives. A minority of young people are carrying knives in the belief that this will keep them safe, when in fact a third of all knife
related injuries are caused by the victim’s own knife. This mind-set is misguided and creates dangerous and potentially lethal situations.
“The impact of knife crime on families and the wider community cannot be understated – it is destructive and toxic, and we must do everything we can to raise awareness from an early age and reduce incidents in our borough.
“The deployment of knife wands in St Helens bars and clubs will act as a deterrent to those few people who think carrying a knife is acceptable, and I’d like to thank local bar owners and licensees for their support of the campaign.”
Area commander for St Helens, Superintendent Louise Harrison, said: “Merseyside Police is committed to ensuring that the people who live, work and visit St Helens and the greater Merseyside area feel safe and reassured.
“Work has been ongoing with our partners to address the issue of knife crime and the introduction of knife wands for bars and clubs in St Helens town centre is the latest preventative work we are supporting.
“We have also carried out test purchasing, open land searches, and educational activity with schools and have worked alongside health professionals and the families of knife crime victims, including Danny Fox, to promote the #NoMoreKnives campaign.
“We know that we cannot tackle the issue alone and I would urge the community to support and help us by spreading the message that it is never acceptable to carry or use a knife and remind people the devastation caused both to the families of knife crime victims and those who commit offences.”