The Air Ambulance Service and West Midlands Police join forces to tackle knife crime
The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS) and West Midlands Police (WMP) have joined forces in a bid to try to tackle the rising and potentially tragic issue of knife crime.
The partnership is sending a powerful message to teenagers and young people about the potential consequences through the personal experiences of the charity’s doctors and critical care paramedics, who are too often responsible for trying to save young lives following a knife crime incident.
A video has been produced which hears first-hand experiences of crews on the scene as they talk about what they witness on a daily and nightly basis, and the complex medical interventions they’re having to perform to try to keep victims of these crimes alive through procedures like thoracotomies.*
The video forms part of a wider campaign that aims to educate and inform teenagers of the irreversible and dangerous realities, with the objective being to provide them with the harsh truth in the hope they will choose not to carry a knife. It will be shown in schools, targeting 13–16-year-olds, and broadcast across WMP and TAAS social media channels.
Chief Superintendent Steve Graham, who leads on serious youth violence, for West Midlands Police, said: “Knife crime and violence is an issue which concerns all of us and too many people’s lives have been affected by its tragic consequences.
“This partnership is really important – our colleagues at TAAS see the true horrors of knife crime and fight hard to save people seriously injured as a result.
“A better understanding of the drivers for violence among young people is crucial and part of this is around us listening to them better. Education is also key – this video is a perfect example as the message is so powerful. Imagine if it was your friend needing life-saving treatment?”
The collaboration came about after TAAS witnessed a rise in knife-related incidents over recent years, with over 250 callouts being reported last year, and over 100 already this year.
TAAS Critical Care Paramedic, Mark Beasley features in the educational video and commented: “Too often we are finding ourselves tasked to knife-related incidents, and we see this now at all hours of the day and night.
“We want to educate the younger generation and want them to think twice about picking up a knife and using it. It is extremely sad to be with the victim of knife crime when their friends have left them, and we are desperately trying to save their life through our advanced critical care.
“We hope that – alongside our WMP colleague’s great efforts on tackling the issue of knife crime – we can help get through to the younger generation by educating them on what we really see, and the too often fatal outcome. We hope that they choose life, not knife, and that we see knife crime begin to decline rather than increase.”
The official launch of this collaborative campaign took place today – 15 June – at TAAS’ Coventry airbase, where Critical Care Paramedic Mark Beasley and WMP’s Chief Superintendent Steve Graham came together to answer questions in a Q&A session which will be shared across social media.
The team at TAAS have further plans to join more forces to help educate and prevent this key topic, hoping to make a positive impact and save more lives.
*where they crack open the chest to resuscitate a major trauma patient.
Watch the video below: