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Last Updated: Wednesday March 26 2008 13:36 GMT

Kids and knives: Reality check

An animation still from Newsround on Knives

Mark Cooper runs No To Knives, a project aimed at making young people more aware of the real dangers of carrying illegal weapons.

He spoke to Newsround about the reality of knife crime for young people.

What would you say to kids who carry a knife to defend themselves?

It is illegal to carry a knife.

You cannot defend yourself with a knife, knives are designed to attack not defend. Remember a knife will not protect you!

Are young people putting themselves more at risk by carrying a knife?

No To Knives logo
At No To Knives, we'd say yes. By carrying a knife you increase the risk of becoming involved in an incident.

Lots of young people have their own knives turned against them.

You have to think about the consequences of pulling a knife out on someone. What would you do?

Most young people never think that far.

What really happens when a knife is pulled?

Two things can happen:

  • You stab someone, the consequences are that you will go to prison and you will have to live with what you have done.
  • You will be stabbed, possibly maimed, scarred or even killed.

We know this sounds harsh, but it's a fact young people can't ignore.

What else could they do to protect themselves?

Speak to an adult if you're scared or being bullied and avoid areas you know to be dodgy.

Never, ever go near someone holding a knife.

Distance is your greatest protection if someone pulls a knife on you. Get as far away as you can.

At No To Knives, we say run away, run to a shop, or a place where there are people and make lots of noise to draw attention to yourself.

How do you persuade someone who's carrying a knife because they think it looks cool or to get respect, not to do it?

There is nothing cool about carrying knives.

Someone in handcuffs
You could be arrested
There is nothing cool about being arrested and having a criminal record.

There is nothing cool about being constantly stopped and searched by the police.

The kind of respect you will end up with is the kind of respect that will exclude you from your friends. Do not mistake fear for respect.

You are also drawing attention to yourself, and other knife carriers may want to fight you. This is not a good idea.

What are the knock-on effects for friends and families of kids who carry knives?

If you carry a knife and use it, think about this...

After being arrested and kept in a police cell you will appear in front of a judge, who could lock you up in a young offenders institution. That's a prison!

Your friends and family could be targeted for revenge.


Young people need to remember that most people who carry knives have their own knives turned against them.

The worst knock-on effect your friends or family could face is visiting you in prison, hospital or by your graveside. Sharp people do not carry.

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