Scottish knife crime initiatives are working because theyre putting the money and the hard work into engaging young people, an expert has said.
Dr Anthony Goodman, a Middlesex University professor, praised No Knives Better Lives (NKBL) for reaching out to children by going into their schools.
The scheme, which has been running since 2009, has been credited with reducing the amount of young people carrying offensive weapons in Scotland by 85 per cent over the last decade.
Dr Goodman, who works with young offenders, emphasised how important it is to teach children about the consequences of carrying a knife – and defeat concepts of loyalty that might lock them into a path of violence.
He told Metro.co.uk: Its completely right that schools need to recognise this is something theyve got to be involved in.
Its essential we engage with young people and help them understand exactly how theyre putting themselves at risk. Young people need understand the complete impact its going to have on their lives.
Only then will some of those group loyalties start coming down. NKBL has highlighted stories of people suddenly finding themselves serving sentences, which I think is just the right thing.
Dr Goodman said the increase in knife crime has also caused some teens to become hyper-vigilant – which could actually result in them being more likely to carry a weapon.
He said: There are now young people who are traumatised by what theyve seen, in real life or online and that is impacting their health.
Its one thing to be told that you shouldnt carry a knife, but if you are sufficiently scared, and you feel that no one is listening, you might feel you need one for protection.
I think for a lot of young people can become very fatalistic and not see a future beyond their 20s, which is very worrying.
That is where we need to help them see beyond their immediate barriers. We need to develop a relationship of trust.
NKBLs 10-year report published on Wednesday revealed that Balisong, a knife-carrying prevention play delivered in schools, has been seen by more than 20,000 young people.
The YouthLink Scotland initiative, which was formed in response to the high incidence of knife crime in the country at the time, focuses on prevention and early intervention through social media, school visits and training youth workers.
It is fully funded by the Scottish Government and received approximately £285,000 a year.