A group of young footballers from a school in Gedling have been helping to raise awareness of Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime campaign locally and nationally.
Carlton le Willows Academy’s Year 10 and 11 football teams have the force’s #LivesNotKnives slogan printed on their shirts and have been spreading the message as they play in county and national competitions this season.
The academy was also one of the first to trial Nottinghamshire Police’s Schools and Early Intervention Officers before they were introduced across the rest of the county. These officers work with young people in schools to help them make positive life choices, including hosting educational sessions on knife crime.
Chief Inspector Steven O’Neill from the City area and former local commander of Gedling said: “I am really pleased to see how the knife crime lessons are being delivered and received at Carlton le Willows Academy.
I am extremely proud of the local links that have been made with this school and many others across the Force area. The re-introduction of School and Early Intervention Officers and the partnership work done at this level is extremely important.
“Having the Carlton le Willows Academy football team promoting our #LivesNotKnives slogan on their football shirts gives Nottinghamshire Police the opportunity to widen our anti knife crime message yet further.
“We all need to work together to encourage change in young people who are willing to carry and use knives.”
The Year 11 team began the year in three competitions; the County Cup, South Notts Cup and National Cup and are currently still contenders for two of these.
After losing in the third round of the National Cup, team members turned their attention to the South Notts Cup, where they are waiting to play their third round.
After a decisive victory against Bramcote College in Round 3 of the County Cup (beating them 5-1) they are waiting to see who they will face – either Trinity or Carlton Academy – away in the quarter final of this trophy.
The Year 10 football team (pictured) has enjoyed a promising start to the season. Despite losing early in the County Cup, the side was able to reach the last 64 in the National Cup.
They are also still in the South Notts Cup – which they won last year – and are playing Toot Hill in the quarter finals.
Schools and Early Intervention Officer PC Paul Kanikowski said: “I am delighted that Carlton le Willows were given the opportunity to have a shirt promoting the #LivesNotKnives campaign as it’s important that we promote the anti-knife crime message to young people by young people.
“With the academy having a successful Year 10 and 11 team at both local and national level, it gives Nottinghamshire Police a chance to further promote the #LivesNotKnives campaign.
“I’m really pleased to be working as a School and Early Intervention Officer at Carlton le Willows and working in partnership with them to try and improve the safety of young people at the academy and the communities that they come from.”
Carlton le Willows Academy Deputy Head Chris Turner said: “Carlton le Willows always takes a proactive approach and we firmly believe in equipping our young people with the knowledge and information to make informed choices.
“The #LivesNotKnives campaign is a really positive message to share, not only with our students but also with the wider community, and we are delighted that our footballers can wear these kits.
“Having an SEIO coming into school has become a vital part of our work to equip our young people with the knowledge, understanding and tools they need to navigate the world around them. We are always extremely grateful to PC Kanikowski for the impact he has within school. He is a valuable part of our school community.”