“People think they look big by stabbing people, but they’re not” - youth backs scheme to tackle knife crime as it visits Norwich
- Credit: Archant
'If people come at you with a knife and you haven't got one you're stuffed' - that is the stark message from a youth whose friend was stabbed in the chest in a street fight.
LJ, 16, who grew up in Norwich but now lives in Great Yarmouth, was speaking out about his experiences of knife crime as part of the innovative StreetDoctors project which has visited Norwich to educate young people about the dangers.
Knife crime has risen in Norfolk by 47pc since 2010 and despite a fall in offences over the past year, the murder of a man in his 50s in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday (November 7) following a stabbing in South Market Road have brought the issue firmly back into focus.
LJ, who is from Catch22 College in Yarmouth, which offers learning and training for students no longer in the traditional academic environment, said: 'A lot of people carry them (knives) because if you've got beef with someone and they've got a knife then a lot of people are going to make theirs bigger.
'People think they look big by stabbing people, but they're not. I know people that have been stabbed. My friend, he got stabbed in the chest. I know what it did to his family and did to people.
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'His lung collapsed. I got a phone call saying he was in hospital and that shook me up a bit.'
He added: 'I know people from the age of 12 or 13 who are carrying knives because they've got older people who are carrying knives and they look up to people like that. It's just getting way out of hand.'
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The scheme, which was first delivered in Yarmouth in March last year, helps teach young people life-saving first aid as well as change attitudes towards knife-related violence.
It returned on Friday (November 9) with about 120 young people taking part in the latest sessions being held at the Phoenix Centre in Mile Cross.
LJ gave his backing to the initiative stating it was a 'good thing' to make people more aware of it.
Lorne Green, Norfolk's police and crime commissioner, who has helped fund the return of the scheme, said: 'It's crucial we educate our young people about the dangers of knife crime – whether as a victim or an offender. Where knife crime is concerned it is clear the consequences for all involved can be severe.'