'Schools need to do more on knife crime', folk say after stabbings

Police in Magpie Road after a recent stabbing in Motum Road. Pictured inset are Geoff Barton and Paul Lewis 

Police in Magpie Road after a recent stabbing in Motum Road. Pictured inset are Geoff Barton and Paul Lewis - Credit: Archant

There are growing calls for city schools to do more to raise awareness of gang culture after recent stabbings.

Campaigners have urged teachers and youth workers to educate youngsters following a series of high profile crimes in Norwich, and warnings from police about the impact that 'county lines' drug gangs are having locally.

They say that they have encountered a lack of awareness among youths, even from areas where gangs are active.

Schools, however, say work is going on to try to steer the most vulnerable pupils away from crime.

Among those to raise concerns is Paul Lewis, a boxing coach at Broadside Warriors Boxing Club in New Costessey and a police trainer in Suffolk.

Paul Lewis, a police trainer in Suffolk, who is also a coach at Broadside Warriors Boxing Club

Paul Lewis, a police trainer in Suffolk, who is also a coach at Broadside Warriors Boxing Club - Credit: Paul Lewis

He said: "I was talking to our boxers and they told me knife crime and gangs has not come up once in schools. Many of them know of friends involved with county lines.

"I was gobsmacked that schools are not covering this. It's a taboo subject not talked about which is where issues can arise."

Norwich and Lowestoft rapper Shane Harvey, 25, is an ex-offender who was involved with gangs, but has now turned his life around through music.

Norwich rapper Creepzz aka Shane Harvey has turned his life around using music.Byline: Sonya Duncan

Norwich rapper Creepzz aka Shane Harvey has turned his life around using music - Credit: Sonya Duncan

He said he was never taught anything about avoiding gangs as a schoolchild.

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"They should really do lessons at school even if it is once a month to raise awareness of it," the rapper added.

A spokeswoman for City Academy Norwich said staff work closely with the Norfolk Constabulary Safer Schools Partnership.

She added: "This makes sure they are well informed of the risks they can be exposed to, and supporting them in dealing with situations that could put them at risk.    

"Both staff and our Safer Schools officer regularly deliver key messages to our students through assemblies and our Personal, Social, Health and Economic lessons."

City Academy Norwich where a small number of pupils are self-isolating after a positive coronavirus

City Academy Norwich where a small number of pupils are self-isolating after a positive coronavirus test. Picture: Simon Finlay - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Many other schools across the city did not respond when approached for comment however.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Our experience is that schools are very conscious of the problem of county lines and extremely concerned for the welfare of pupils.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL headteacher union.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL headteacher union. - Credit: Archant

“We are aware police services are less able to liaise directly with schools than in the past because of government cuts.

"The problem of county lines is an example of where it might be helpful if there were more resources in place to support schools with this messaging.”