TEENAGERS in Kirklees are warned about the dangers of carrying knives in a hard-hitting project targeting schools.
The Weapons Awareness Programme, led by West Yorkshire Police, drives home the message to secondary school pupils in Years nine, 10 and 11 that carrying knives is potentially lethal.
Young people are also being urged to tell the police, their parents or teachers if they are threatened with a knife, so the offender can be dealt with and the weapon taken away.
There is an amnesty going on at the moment and knives can be handed in at police stations with no questions asked.
Clr Khizar Iqbal, chairman of Kirklees Safer Communities Partnership, said: "Tackling the knife culture, especially among young people, is paramount to the safety of our communities.
"This hard-hitting scheme aims to prevent and reduce violent crime and make it clear that carrying knives is not acceptable."
The British Crime Survey shows that violent crime nationally has fallen by 43% since its peak in 1995 and has remained relatively stable since 2000.
Chief Inspector Jon Carter, Community Safety Co-ordinator for Kirklees Police, said: "The likelihood of becoming a victim is still unusual.
"But we all have a responsibility to make our communities even safer by removing knives from our streets, along with those who use them to threaten and intimidate others.
"Some young people view it as acceptable to arm themselves because they've been threatened by others and feel they have to redress the balance to feel safe.
"But young people who carry knives are more likely to have them turned against them.
"We would urge young people to tell the police, their teachers and parents if they are threatened.
"They will be supported when they contact us. This will help stop other young people arming themselves and allow us to remove a dangerous offender and their weapon."
The hour-long Weapons Awareness Programme gives young people the facts, so they understand the legal and personal risks of carrying knives, guns and imitation firearms.
It dramatically shows the devastating harm that knives and guns do. The sessions also cover legislation and sentences for carrying weapons and real life case studies.
They also encourage young people to discuss and express their opinions about the subject to dispel myths.
Youth diversion officer Pc Richard Allen said: "Prevention is better than cure. If this programme saves just one life, it's worth it."
"Young people are not always aware that carrying knives can be fatal.
"We need to educate them in order to reduce the number of potential victims by providing the facts and raising awareness that carrying weapons - far from keeping them safe - is very dangerous and that the injuries can be lethal."