Leeds City College and the West Yorkshire Police join forces to tackle knife crime in Leeds and surrounding areas
Students from Leeds City College’s School of Creative Arts worked alongside the West Yorkshire Police to create a performance piece that addresses the deep-seated issue of knife crime.
The West Yorkshire Police and Ash Razzaq MBE, Strategic Engagement Officer for Leeds District, commissioned Level 3 Acting students to create the informative piece.
According to the official statistics, there were 285 fatal stabbings in England and Wales in 2018 alone – the highest number since records began more than 70 years ago.
Danielle Bailey, Course Leader for Level 3 Acting said: “Knife crime has become prevalent in our society and really has an impact on our communities. The performance, in conjunction with the West Yorkshire Police, was part of our commitment to raising awareness and tackling these issues head on, with the aim of making a difference.”
The students had the opportunity to take part in workshops with renowned Leeds-based theatre company, Red Ladder to produce the Knife Crime Project. The piece’s objective was to raise awareness of knife crime and its consequences.
The performance piece was commissioned after the success of the Prevent and British Values tour in 2018. The Creative Arts acting students, who were part of the project, were among a number of unsung heroes that were nominated for an award at the Compassionate City Awards last year.
The performers were nominated for the Jo Cox award, which recognised their play, titled You see I feel, that highlighted and raised awareness of the devastating effects of terrorism.
Meanwhile, the acting students visited schools from across Leeds to perform the 20 minute piece, including Farnley Academy, Horsforth Schools, Leeds City Academy, Bruntcliffe Academy and Crawshaw Academy.
Last month, police revealed the areas of Leeds that have been affected by knife crime over the last two years.
Assailants used knives and other sharp weapons to commit 2,030 crimes in the city, including murders, robberies and sexual offences, in 2017 and 2018. Over that two-year period, the Gipton and Harehills area saw the highest number of offences with 244.
The Performing Arts Department plan to continue raising awareness of knife crime in the community and are looking to go into schools to educate and help combat the rising statistics in the city.