We are working with South Yorkshire Police (SYP) to evaluate a pilot knife crime prevention intervention being delivered to KS3 children across South Yorks. This unfunded pilot research is novel, very timely and has provoked national interest from the National Knife Crime Working Party, members of parliament and the media. Our contribution is to evaluate the intervention, which has thus far included pre-pilot research in sample schools to develop a new measure of children’s attitudes, awareness and understanding of knife crime. In addition to validating our new attitudinal measure, our research aims to explore which of two interventions is more effective in generating shift in attitudes, perceptions and knowledge of knife crime, a) dissemination from SYP officers designed to disseminate hard hitting messages, or b) curriculum in class using a Home Office developed lesson plan. This should inform as to which organisation (schools or police) may be best positioned to deliver such interventions. Having police officers deliver interventions has demonstrated efficacy in other areas, for example, an intervention to reduce truancy demonstrated greater school attendance for students having contact with the police (Bazemore, Stinchcomb, & Leip, 2006). Although the Home Office curriculum intervention for knife crime is a first, a systematic review into bullying interventions demonstrated that almost half of curriculum based interventions affected some change in behaviour (Vreeman, Aaron, & Carroll, 2007). However no research has as yet assessed the efficacy of interventions around knife crime.
Delivery of both the Police led, and the Home Office lesson plan intervention will be to approx. 6,000 children across South Yorkshire. All participants will complete a 'pre-survey' consisting of our attitudinal measure, and an assessment of perception and understanding of knife crime. Half of participants will then experience the police-led presentation followed by the Home Office lesson plan approximately two weeks later. Post-surveys exploring attitudinal, perception and understanding shift will be completed after each session. The other half of the sample will experience the Home Office lesson plan, followed by the Police-led presentation. Again, each session will be explored using Post-survey measures.