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Crewe’s Problem Solving Team has stepped up their efforts to tackle knife crime in the town – with the help of a 13-year-old girl.
Kinga Pietrusiak won the knife crime prevention poster competition that the team held recently via social media.
Now the Crewe resident’s winning design pleading for ‘less knives, more lives’ is displayed on a large billboard in the town centre.
The eye-catching design was unveiled on Friday 23 October.
It is estimated that more than 120,000 motorists a day will see Kinga’s poster, which will be on display in Mill Street for the next four weeks.
Police Constable Tom Towe, who ran the competition on behalf of the Crewe Problem Solving Team, said: “The competition was organised as part of our considerable ongoing efforts to tackle knife crime in the town.
“As well as taking direct action with things like knife sweeps, imposing dispersal orders and stopping people suspected of possessing weapons and searching them, it is extremely important to educate people about the dangers of carrying knives.
“That is particularly true for young people.
“Statistics show that young people are more likely to carry a knife and be injured by one.
“There are very real challenges and pressures that children may face, so it is essential to engage with them about knife crime and encourage them to be bold, reject knife and gang culture and keep themselves safe now and in the future.
“The competition gave young people in Crewe aged between 11 and 18 the chance to be part of Operation Gravitate, which aims to reduce knife crime in Crewe and the number of families affected by it.
“They were invited, via social media, to create colourful and eye-catching posters that highlight the dangers of carrying knives.
“The standard of the artwork we subsequently received was outstanding.
“The children who took part had come up with some fantastic ideas, but Kinga’s poster particularly stood out.
“She is a worthy winner and should be very proud of herself.
“I would like to thank the Safer Cheshire East Partnership for helping to fund the billboard and to make this initiative possible.
“I hope that lots of motorists take note of her poster that is now displayed on a billboard in Crewe town centre and that it gets more people talking about the fact that those who carry knives put their lives at risk by doing so.
“Thankfully, only a very small minority of people carry weapons in Crewe.
“We will continue to work closely with our partner agencies to tackle knife crime and keep our communities safe.”
Superintendent Peter Crowcroft, Cheshire Constabulary’s representative in the Safer Cheshire East Partnership, added: “This work to engage with young people about knife crime and highlight the issue to the wider community was worthy of Safer Cheshire East Partnership funding and I would like to congratulate Kinga on winning the competition and to commend her on the quality of her poster.”
Cllr Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities, said: “The council is working very closely with the police and other agencies to raise awareness of the risks associated with knife crime.
“The Safer Cheshire East Partnership is supporting those positive messages to keep Cheshire East residents safe.”
Chief Inspector Sarah Heath, who is Cheshire Constabulary’s knife crime lead, added: “Cheshire has a lower rate of knife crime than most other counties in England.
“We have a multi-faceted approach to tackling knife crime at Cheshire Constabulary.
“Our structured prepare, protect, pursue and prevent approach to combating knife crime involves various partner agencies, including local authorities, education providers, health authorities, third sector organisations, youth representatives and community groups.
“We will continue to endeavour – through education, awareness and action – to make Cheshire a county in which no-one carries a knife or feels that there is a reason to do so.”
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: “This is an excellent example of our local officers engaging with young people in the communities they serve to tackle the big issues like knife crime.
“Well done to Kinga and to everyone else who took part in the competition and I hope this display will send a powerful message.
“Carrying a knife doesn’t make you safer, and the consequences can be devastating for all those involved.
“I’m pleased to see Cheshire Constabulary working to reduce the number of dangerous weapons on our streets, and to educate people about the dangers of knife crime, and I urge anyone with information about those who carry such weapons to come forward in confidence and report it.”
To report any type of crime involving weapons call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Information can also be passed to the force online via our website.
Anyone who knows someone that carries a knife can report it to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.