The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), in partnership with the Lancashire Youth Council have devised a project that incorporates participatory research methods to look at knife crime. The young people have identified questions including what knife crime is, why it happens and how this concerns them and other young people in Lancashire.
This research project is participatory research; therefore, it is important to ensure that the young people are involved in every aspect and are the voice of the project. The young people chose the topic of knife crime as it is something that is rising in the Lancashire area, and is featuring highly in the media. In statistics drawn from March 2018, there has been an increase of 34% in knife-related offences in Lancashire compared with 2014 statistics.While knife crime is mostly referred to as being a problem in London, the problem is relevant locally. Although there is significantly less knife crime in Lancashire when compared to London, there has been a 24% increase in knife related crimes in Lancashire compared to London’s 8% increase in the past ten years.
The young people chose the topic of knife crime themselves and is something that they unanimously agreed needs more awareness. Often knife crime comes with a stigma attached to young people, yet young people on average commit less crimes with knives than adults. Despite this, the media tends to target young people and knife crime. All these issues and more,are the reason this project should be carried out. Not only does it raise awareness for young people who might have never thought about or heard of knife crime in their area, but it also raises awareness to adults who are unfamiliar with knife crime. This project aims to bring the perspectives of young people themselves to the forefront.